Madrid's principal catholic cathedral, Santa MarГa la Real de La Almudena is better known as simply the Almudena cathedral that was built in phases from 1879 to 1993. Building it had been in the books since the 16th century, when Madrid became the capital but lacked a cathedral as befits the most powerful city in Spain. That the future cathedral would be dedicated to the patron saint of Madrid, Virgin of Almudena, was clear early on. Francisco Cubas designed a simply stunning Gothic revival structure, which was later updated to include elements of baroque to better match the nearby Royal Palace.
The construction of the Almudena cathedral was interrupted in the 20th century by the Spanish Civil War and the project lay abandoned till the 1950s. The cathedral was successfully finished and consecrated in 1993. Its exterior is a mixture of Gothic and baroque and the interior is made in Neo-Gothic style but decorated in a modern fashion by contemporary artists. The Almudena cathedral houses the 16th-century icon of Virgin Almudena.