Santa María la Real de La Almudena is the Catholic cathedral in Madrid, and a recent building as Catholic cathedrals in Europe go.
When the capital of Spain was transferred from Toledo to Madrid in 1561, the seat of the Church in Spain remained in Toledo and the new capital had no cathedral. Plans to build a cathedral in Madrid dedicated to the Virgin of Almudena were discussed as early as the 16th century. Making the cathedral the largest that the world had ever seen was then a priority. Construction only began in 1879.