The Almudena Cathedral is a spectacular scared space that has only in recent times been completed.


Consecrated by Pope John Paul II in 1993, the Cathedral stands on the spot where Madrid’s first mosque once stood, testifying to the lengthy history and diverse religious influences in the region.

Construction stalled when plans for a new, grander church—dedicated to Madrid’s patroness, the Virgin of Almudena--surfaced in the 16th Century.  Permission was finally granted in 1868 and building began in 1883.


When Pope Leo XIII created the Diocese of Madrid in 1884, the new church was elevated to the status of a cathedral. Construction progressed slowly and actually halted in the 1930s during the Spanish Civil War.


Finally, in 1944 efforts began again under the leadership of a new architect who departed from the Neo-Gothic design, first conceived, and introduced a Neoclassical style to match the Royal Palace next door.


Today the cathedral has become a sacred place of worship, with four of Spain’s most beloved saints gracing the front edifice of the cathedral: St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, and St. Isidore and his wife, St. Maria Torribia.


A sculpture of John Paul II also now stands at the front of the church to commemorate the late pontiff’s dedication of the cathedral and to show Spain’s deep love for the spiritual leader.