Neo-Romanesque Architecture: Crypt of the Almudena Cathedral in Madrid, Spain

by Arūnas
Cripta de la Almudena: The largest crypt in Spain

The Crypt of the Almudena Cathedral (Spanish: Cripta de la Catedral de la Almudena) is a beautiful Roman Catholic temple in Neo-Romanesque style, full of very ostentatious chapels and mausoleums that keep the remains of noble and great figures of the Kingdom of Spain. Built-in the 19th century, it is the oldest part of the Cathedral.

Four historical facts about the crypt:

  • After the death of the Queen Mercedes of Orléans on June 26, 1878, King Alfonso XII, her widower, decided to build a temple for the Virgin Mary, also serving as a pantheon for the Queen, as a sign of love for his first wife.
  • The crypt began to be built on April 4, 1883, the day on which its first stone was laid.
  • On May 30, 1911, it was inaugurated as a parish church.
  • In 1993, the crypt was consecrated by Pope John Paul II on his fourth trip to Spain.

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Architecture of the Crypt


The crypt is a Neo-Romanesque temple with Byzantine influence and a Latin-cross plan, built according to the design of the Spanish architect Francisco de Cubas (1826–1899). It has the same floor dimensions (102 m/334 ft in length and 73m/239 ft in width) as the cathedral above. There are 9 chapels on the right side and 12 chapels on the left side; all of them are illuminated by stained glass windows, the best in Madrid.

The crypt features 558 columns, each crowned with a different capital with biblical and nature motifs. In its central nave, there are 50 huge columns of 3.28 m/ 10.76 ft high and a perimeter of 2.20 m/ 7.21 ft.

Cripta de la Almudena
The left lateral nave of the crypt
Cripta de la Almudena
At the top of the cross is the Latin text “Beati qui in domino moriuntur”, which means “Blessed are those who die in the grace of Lord”
Neo-Romanesque Architecture: The Crypt of the Almudena Cathedral in Madrid, Spain
Forest of columns in the crypt
Cripta de la Almudena
Stained glass windows in the crypt
Side chapel of St. Isidore the Farmer
Side chapel of St. Isidore the Farmer
Side chapel of Christ of the Good Death
Side chapel of Christ of the Good Death
Neo-Romanesque Architecture: The Crypt of the Almudena Cathedral in Madrid, Spain
South part of the central nave of the crypt, with a fresco in the background
Fresco dedicated to Our Lady of the Pillar
Fresco dedicated to Our Lady of the Pillar
Crypt of the Almudena Cathedral
The central nave of the crypt, with the high altar in the background
Crypt of the Almudena Cathedral
The chancel of the crypt

Located beneath the Almudena Cathedral in Madrid, the crypt is considered to be the largest and most spectacular crypt not only in the city but also in all Spain.

Address: Calle Mayor 90, 28013 Madrid, Spain

Official website: Cripta de la Almudena


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