Episcopal Palace

Astorga, Spain

The Episcopal Palace of Astorga is a building by Spanish architect Antoni Gaudí. It was built between 1889 and 1913. Designed in the Catalan Modernisme style, it is one of only three buildings by Gaudi outside Catalonia.

When the original Episcopal Palace was destroyed by a fire in the 19th century, Bishop Grau decided to assign the design of the new building to his friend Antoni Gaudí. The two had become friends when Grau was Vicar-Generalin the Archdiocese of Tarragona and had inaugurated a church for which the architect had designed the high altar.

When Gaudí received the commission, he was still working at the Palau Güell in Barcelona, and thus he could not move to Astorga to study the terrain and the area of the new construction. He therefore asked the bishop to send him photographs to begin the new project. Gaudí sent his design, and it was approved in February 1889. The first stone was placed in June the following year.

The edifice, built in gray granite from El Bierzo, is in a neo-medieval style harmonizing with its location, including the cathedral in particular. It does, however, also feature some of the elements typical of the later Gaudí, such as the arches of the entrance with buttresses and the chimneys integrated in the side façades. Gaudí had devised a five-meter tall angel to crown the façade, but it was never mounted. The façade has four cylindrical towers and is surrounded by a ditch.

In 1893, after the death of Bishop Grau, Gaudí resigned over disagreements with the council, halting the construction for several years. The palace was completed between 1907 and 1915 by Ricardo Garcia Guereta. During the Civil War the building served as the local headquarters of the Falange. In 1956 Julià Castelltort, a Catalan, began restoration works to adapt the building as a bishop's residence. Later, Bishop Marcelo González Martín promoted the conversion to the current role of the palace, a museum of religious art called Museo de los Caminos, dedicated to the Way of Santiago.

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Details

Founded: 1889-1913
Category: Palaces, manors and town halls in Spain

Rating

4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Aileen Schmitt (2 years ago)
Looks like a Disneyland castle or a fake castle with a roller coaster inside. So clean and unreal looking. Very beautiful!
Emily Alsdorf (2 years ago)
A beautiful museum! There were some renovations happening while we were visiting but the distraction was minimal. I bought tickets online in advance (not sure if you could purchase onsite) for 10:30am on a Saturday and enjoyed the gardens and views practically to myself. I learned so much about Astorga here as well as the creation of the commissioned palace by the architect, Gaudi. Everyone was very nice and welcoming. A must see!
Lewis Mindy (3 years ago)
Absolutely stunning place. It is everything and more that would be expected of Gaudi. It is in the centre of Astorga and on the Camino de Santiago, the route Francés. It is inexpensive and even has a reduction for pilgrims. Very beautiful building. I feel it a privilege to have been inside. Souvenir shop, audio, WCs and lots of hand sanitiser.
Ken Mann (3 years ago)
Only saw it from the outside as it was closed for lunch, but looks amazing. Will have to visit when open.
Lilly Kalibatseva (3 years ago)
A cute fairytale castle..the inside is also nice, nothing exceptional..
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