One of the most remarkable architectural details is its dome, of a Gothic style inside but Baroque on the outside. It is covered with slate, on top of which is an octagonal drum is with four large holes that result in a small skylight. It’s adorned with twelve statues of the apostles.
The main façade has a large double colonnaded portico, and the top floor is built in an Ionic style while the lower is Tuscan.
This double gate is topped by a statue of the Virgin de la Almudena in the center and four statues of Spanish saints: Saint Isidro Labrador, the patron saint of Madrid; Santa Maria de la Cabeza, his wife; Santa Teresa de Avila, and Saint Fernando the King.
The Virgin de Lis is located on the balcony immediately below the statues of the four evangelists. On the sides two coats of arms represent the Spanish Royal and the Papal Houses.
The bronze doors were designed by sculptor Sanguino and decorated with Trinitarian themes with references to the Spanish Catholic monarchy.
The right tower is known as "the Galician", thanks to the region of the north of Spain that donated the bells. Each bell is dedicated to the Virgin Mary under her different devoted names: theVirgin of the Dove, the Virgin of Atocha, the Virgin of Almudena, and the Virgin of of the Lily.
Bailen street facade
This is the facade used to enter the temple every day. This facade is simple, but of monumental appearance and with certain references reminiscent of the style of El Escorial.
The bronze doors are by sculptor Sanguino Artwork.
The door on the left represents the miracle thanks to which the statue of the Virgin de la Almudena was found in 1085 by King Alfonso VI.
The central door commemorates the inauguration of Pope John Paul II accompanied by King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia and the archbishop of Madrid, Suquía.
The door on the right represents the procession of the Virgin, held every November 9th. Cardinal Rouco Varela appears along with the most of the emblematic city monuments. At the top are two statues of St. Joachim and St. Anne, parents of the Virgin Mary.
In the vast square that leads to this facade stands a ten-foot tall statue of John Paul II made by Juan de Avalos.
The interior floor plan is of a Latin cross consisting of a central nave and two sides. Behind the main altar is a green marble Baroque style crucifix made in 1620 by famous carver/sculptor Juan de Mesa.
The central nave is flanked by chapels on the sides and is dedicated to contemporary saints Escriva de Balaguer, Blessed Mariana de Jesus, St. Angela de la Cruz and Saint Vincent de Paul, among others.
The roof of the nave is finished differently than the standard Gothic style, consisting of a simple vault projected in the aisles in a honeycombed formation.
Reminiscent of the Moorish style found in other buildings, the decoration of the vault features geometrical paintings and a gold leaf cover.
The four elements of earth are featured on the dome: earth, sea, fire and air.
One of the most valuable pieces the cathedral is the organ made by Austrian master Grenzing, made of four keyboards and a pedal. It has a significant number of tubes: sixteen lines of outer tubes, twenty for the keyboard, nine for the trumpets, and thirteen for the pedal.
A large picture representing the preparation for Crucifixion painted by Francisco Ricci during the seventeenth century is exhibited at the main altar.
Beneath this painting lies a very realistic recumbent Christ, made by Avalos.
A Gothic style altarpiece of unknown authorship is exhibited on the opposite side.
Stained glass windows
The windows are a set of eight stained glass windows and seven mural paintings, made with Murano glass. The Pantocrator presides at the center and holds an open book with the caption that reads:Love your enemies. I am coming soon!
In chronological order, the murals represent Baptism, Transfiguration, Crucifixion, Christ Pantocrator, the Resurrection, the Ascension and the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. These paintings are the work of Kiko Arguello and reminiscent of icons of the Orthodox Churches.
Above the paintings are many windows dedicated to the word of God in different languages: Latin, Verbum; Greek, Logos; Russian, Slovo; and Spanish, Word; in the center is the name of Mary.
Like the rest of the temple, this set of stained glass windows and paintings also mix traditional and contemporary styles.
Virgin Mary Altar
The altar on the right aisle of the transept is dedicated to the Virgin de la Almudena, accessible by two side staircases with bronze railings.
There is also a fifteenth-century altarpiece depicting scenes from the life of Jesus and Mary. Gothic style wooden carvings of the Virgin are also on display.
Under the white ivory crucifix lie the remains of King Juan Carlos I’s grandmother in her wish to rest at the feet of the Virgin Mary.
Chapel of the ambulatory
This chapel is dedicated to the Saints of Madrid: San Isidro Labrador, patron saint of Madrid and his wife, Santa Maria de la Cabeza.
Both saints are represented in a polychromatic Baroque wood carving style on the sides of the tombstones that used to hold the saints’ remains.
Cathedral time table
Open from 09:00 to 20:30, except July and August from 10:00 to 21:00h
Mass every day at 12:00 and 20:00h