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December 22, 2018

Spain: Madrid, Almudena Cathedral


Inside the Almudena Cathedral

Madrid’s Almudena Cathedral is located across the Plaza de la Armería from the Palacio Real de Madrid, Madrid’s royal palace. It seems the perfect location for a cathedral. It is easy to assume this old church has been at this spot for as long or longer than the palace. But that assumption is incorrect.

Though Santa María la Real de La Almudena looks old, Pope John Paul II consecrated the cathedral in 1993. Constructed over a 114-year period the church’s architectural style, a mix of Neoclassical, Neo-Gothic, and Neo-Romanesque, gives by intent the impression of an older church. That is the idea of “neo” architectural styles, after all. But there’s more than that. Madrid’s cathedral is particularly age-deceptive because of its location. One assumes, after all, that historic Madrid must have an old cathedral at central location such as this.

The facade of the Almudena Cathedral

Looking up in the Almudena Cathedral

I’ve been fooled by churches’ appearances of old age before. As in this case there are visual clues. If one pays attention it is easy to see that this church is new, not old. The stained glass seen from the inside of Almudena is clearly modern, as are the decorations. The confusing mix of styles on the exterior of the church should also have been a clue. The Classical, Romanesque, and Gothic eras span more than a millennium. It’s not likely to find them all expressed to the same extent in one building, particularly one that looks to be in such good condition.

But deep-seated assumptions are hard to look past. I believed that there would be a grand old building at this place in Madrid. And when I looked that’s what I saw.

Now if only this would happen would I look in the mirror in the morning I’d be happy. It would be good to discover that the middle-aged man staring back at me from the mirror is really a neo-middle aged man born in 1993.


We visited the Almudena Cathedral in November of 2017.

The back of the Almudena Cathedral

Art on the ceiling of the cathedral

The cathedral’s facade

1 Comment »

  1. Reblogged this on Die Goldene Landschaft.

    Comment by gunst01 — March 22, 2019 @ 1:37 pm

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