¿What is that man looking at? This question may arise during your walk through the main Street from Madrid, almost corner with the Bailén street.
But when you approach you discover that it is not a Sir, but a life-size sculptural figure that looks out into a glazed space where you can see some archaeological remains. It is the apse of which, until it was demolished in 1868, it was the oldest church in Madrid.
I mean the church of Santa María de la Almudena, which was the antecedent of the current Almudena Cathedral.
This church was in the space that, when it arrived Alfonso VI to the until then Muslim city of Mayrit, in the year 1082, it was occupied by the Great Mosque from the city.
Model of the old church Santa María de la Almudena
According to the references that are had, Santa Maria de la Almudena it was a small church with three naves with Mudejar architecture. At Municipal Museum of Madrid, which I have not yet visited, it seems that there is a model made in 1945 that shows what the temple was like before it was demolished.
Throughout its history, since it was a Muslim mosque, various reforms and extensions were made, highlighting the one made by Ventura Rodríguez in 1777
Also since then there were different attempts to turn it into a cathedral, which was always missed in a large city, capital of the Kingdom, which was Madrid.
Finally, in October 1868, as a result of the works that were to be started to expand the main Street, the demolition of the church was carried out where at that time the image of the Virgen de la Almudena.
Sculptural figure next to the archaeological remains of the Santa María de la Almudena church
Fifteen years later, finally, in front of the place that occupied the church of Santa María de la Almudena, the construction of the cathedral of Madrid, the current one, began Almudena Cathedral.
In memory of this church that was so important in the history of Madrid, now you only have the sculptural figure that is looking at the archaeological remains of its apse, in addition to a monolith with a metal model of it.<>