Wars, rebellions, political chaos, and a lack of cash delayed the completion of Madrid’s cathedral for 110 years after ground was broken in 1883. In keeping with Spanish tradition, it was built on the site of Madrid’s chief mosque under Moorish rule. It was named for the Virgen de la Almudena, whose icon was found on the site when Alfonso VI re-conquered the city under the sign of the cross in 1085. The cathedral was originally designed as a neo-Gothic building but when architect Fernando Chueca took over the construction, he altered the plans to make it neoclassical—a better fit with the adjacent Palacio Real. Spanish television had a field day with the colorful “pop art” stained-glass windows and multicolored ceiling during the wedding of Prince Felipe to newscaster Doña Letizia in May 2004.
- Frommer's Staff