Madrid: Museum of the Almudena Cathedral, The Treasury

Too good to give up?

You are NOT supposed to take photos in the Treasury at the Museum of the Almudena Cathedral.

But I couldn’t help taking a sneak pic of these beautiful pearl and diamond brooches. One shot was all it took to get the guards running and I wasn’t able to take any more. But a little telling off was worth it to be able to bring you this picture and this story.

There is only one case of jewellery in the Treasury, but behind that case lies a tale. The Cathedral of Santa Maria la Real de la Almudena, to give it its full name, was commissioned by King Alfonso XII of Spain. The site earmarked for the new Cathedral was that of a church already under construction.

But Cathedrals cost money. Spain’s elite was encouraged to contribute its cash and valuables to fund its building. To quote from the museum’s own information: “Donations from queens and noble ladies never stopped. Increasing donations to Our Lady of Almudena saw the treasury grow.”

Now, call me a cynic, but I think the need to keep in with the King probably prompted most of these incredible “donations”. Would you willingly give up beautiful pieces like these? I’m very glad I have no royal connections as its nice to keep the things I like to myself.

Anyway, in the historical jewellery desert that is Madrid, the sole case in the Treasury is as good as it gets.

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