Sta. María la Real de la Almudena. Madrid
Click on the image to enlarge it
Date of issue :
April 1999
Size :
47 x 27 mm.
Paper :
Thermal self adhesive - multicoloured 
Imprint :
Thermal on black
Design :
Printer :
FNMT. Fábrica Nacional de Moneda y Timbre
Printing :
50.000.000 of labels

The origin of the Virgin image arrives, according to the tradition, until the time of the Apostles and, with her, the devotion that always it has had between the inhabitants of Madrid.

The existence of one visigotical first image is well known, called "La Virgen de la Villa" ( the Virgin of the town ). Later she was well known with the names of "Santa María de la Vega" and "La Concepción Admirable".
Hidden in a section of the Madrid city walls at the beginning of VIII Century because of the Muslim invasion, it was not found again until the 1805. Enthroned into its new altar she becomes the Patron Saint of Madrid with the name of Santa María la Real de la Almudena

It's possible that the primitive image disappeared during a fire happened towards half full of XV century. 
The present image, of pine wood from Soria of a precious hazelnut colour, grown dark by the passage of time, could be carved by Diego Copín de Holanda, that worked in Toledo, at the end of XV century or beginning of the XVI. 
A restoration conducted in 1993 discovered inside the head of the image a bag containing precious stone and gold fragments, all mixed it with ashes, without a doubt everything what it was after the fire of the first image. 
During all these centuries it has undergone different modifications and restorations, perhaps most important in the middle of the XVII century in which it was sawn by different parts to be able to dress it in the numerous dresses and mantles that to him the Royalty offered. 

The November 10, 1948 the Coronación Canónica de la Virgen de la Almudena ( solemn Canonical Coronation of the Virgin of the Almudena ) is celebrated .

The Cathedral of Nuestra Señora la Real de la Almudena begins to be developed the December 22, 1868, when the Congregación de esclavos de la Virgen de la Almudena( Congregation of slaves of the Almudena's Virgin ) asks the Archbishop of Toledo for the permission to construct a new church dedicated to the Virgin. 
King Alfonso XII places the first stone in 1883 and the construction begins according to a Marqués de Cubas project. In 1884, Pope Leon XIII erects Madrid in diocese and the project of the old Parochial Church is transformed into a great Cathedral of Neogothical style with Latin cross plant, with a central nave and two lateral.

The initial project and the construction bore diverse reforms throughout the years. The great crypt finishes in 1911. In 1944 a national architectonic competition summons to give to the Cathedral a good architectonic solution, because the neogothic original project is considered that it did not fit with the neo-classic style of the neighbouring Royal Palace. 
The works continue the 1950, this time according to the new project of the architects Fernando Chueca Goitia and Carlos Sidro, in different stages and also long periods in which the works become paralysed. 
Between 1984 and 1993, the final stage of the construction of the temple, different and important works were made, like the arrangement of presbytery because the new liturgy or the creation of the Altar of Santa María de la Almudena, in which the image is placed in the central niche of an impressive altarpiece painted at the end of XV - beginnings of the XVI century by Juan de Borgoña.

The most important part of works finalized in June 1993 and was consecrated by the Pope Juan Pablo II the June 15 of the same year, although the works continued until the 1999.

Chapel and altarpiece where is the image of the Virgen de la Almudena.
Source of information and images : Diocese of Madrid

Spanish Postal services issued in 1954 a set commemorating the Año Santo Mariano and in one of the stamps it appears the image for the first time of the Virgin of the Almudena.
Edifil 1139 / Yvert 850 / Michel 1035

ATM Web - Spanish and Latin American Postal Services : http://www.fut.es/~jjj/atm  © J. Jové - M. Sans