Almudena Cathedral
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Santa María la Real de La Almudena
After paying your patriotic fee of 10 Euro to enter the Royal Palace, you will notice the Almudena Cathedral beyond the courtyards gates. While I was too late in the day to be graced with the inner divinities of this structure I did in fact, get into its reticent crypt. This Church intially desired by King Philip II in 1561, didn't not receive approval for building until 1868. Yes, obviously King Philip never saw his desires come to fruition but I am almost positive he would have been happy with the outcome. In 1883 construction for the church had finally began but one year later Madrid becomes a diocese thanks to Pope Leo XIII and a-not-so-simple church was transformed into a cathedral. Construction, still staggering in its progress, came to a halt in the 30's during Spain's civil war. Then in 1944 they had to stop construction altogether as the cathedral's neo-gothic style clashed with its neighbor, the royal palace's soon to be neo-classical design. Only 383 years in the making at this point anyhow. Consecrated by John-Paul II in 1993 the cathedral was finally considered complete after its redesign. Its crypt however still displays unearthed Moorish and medieval city walls.
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Almudena Cathedral Crypt
Stumbling around Madrid I came upon this crypt down from the Royal Palace. I finally decided to check out this exemplary architecture haven amidst the jamon and shoe shops in the vicinity. This Neo-Romanesque crypt bears the remains of many in its walls and, if you gander at the image, beneath the elongated rectangles on the floor as well. Boasting organ music in a minor chord, this somewhat eerie chapel holds the 16th-century antique portrait of the Virgin of Almudena. This is one destination I recommend putting on your bucket list for Madrid. Entry is €1 so you can't really even call it splurging to enter this Byzantine-influenced abyss.
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