Astorga Episcopal Palace or Gaudi Palace

Astorga has the privilege of housing a work by Antonio Gaudi, the most important Modernist architect in Spain, and one of the most famous in the world. When the old Archbishop´s Palace was destroyed by fire in 1886, the Bishop of the town of chocolate commissioned Gaudi the building of a new episcopal see. The construction of the Palace begun in 1887 and was not completed until 1893. The building comprises a cellar, ground floor, first floor and attic. 

The exterior walls that form the different façades of the palace were made of grey granite, whereas in its interior, Gaudi used load-bearing walls, piers with capitals, rib vaults an ogive archs.

Except for the main doorway that has splayed archs, the construction forms a unity of composition. The different turrets contribute to the verticality of the palace. The slender exterior view of the building is due to the Neomedievalist use of corners.

On the cellar there is a magnificent large room, with a gloomy severe atmosphere, that supports all the beauty that can be found on the upper floors. Here Gaudi was influenced by his preference for the Neo-Mudejar style, materialized in the austerity of the stone piers, the simplicity of the brick decorations and the creativity of the vaults.

The first floor, which has the perfect shape of a Greek cross, includes the most beautiful rooms, intended as places to live, work, relax and be secluded. The throne room is the most important room, for its outstanding height, slenderness and well-proportioned forms. The study is noted for the reddish tones on the glass windows. The dining room is full of the light that comes through the large and diaphanous stained glass windows on which are represented allegories with fruits and flowers sorrounded by inscriptions. The Chapel is the key piece in the Neo-Gothic structure of the building. On the exterior it forms a triple apse with stained glass windows, flying butresses, gargoyles, superposed lattices and slender solid abutments. In its interior predominates a mysterious and secluded atmosphere. The walls are decorated with large frescoes on the side walls, Modernist tiles, polichrome glass windows, influenced by a variety of styles, and a magnificent altar dedicated to the Virgin.

Unfortunately Gaudi never completed this work. When the bishop who had commissioned him the palace died, the architect gave up the project. Nevertheless, those who continued the works, tried hardly to follow the project dreamed up by Gaudi.