The Episcopal Palace of Astorga is a modernist building designed by Antonio Gaudi in the neo-Gothic style. Both a fairytale palace and a castle, it was built in the late 1800’s, after the previous palace burned down. Gaudi chose granite from El Bierzo, which provides a beautiful contrast with the Roman walls and the red sandstone of the Cathedral.
The genius of Gaudi embraces the visitor from the entrance, with three twin arches that become buttresses (or viceversa?). Without the four cylindrical towers, the building could well be a castle, or so the ditch suggests (the truth is the ditch was the way Gaudi found to bring natural light into the basement). We will never know what Gaudi had in mind, for he didn’t complete the works and burned the plans, but the angels in the gardens were designed to stand well over the roofs of the city. It was Ricardo García Guereta who completed the palace by 1915 (the third floor, the only one left when Gaudi resigned).
No bishop has ever lived in the building, which hosts the Museum of the Ways, devoted to the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. However, the fine sculptures and paintings cannot overshadow Gaudi’s work, present in the stained glass windows, in the glazed ceramics found in every corner, or in the light. Yes, the light! This small palace in Astorga that Gaudi never completed shows how he mastered the art of making the light part of the building, each room offering a different shape and view at different times of the day.
The single ticket to visit the Episcopal Palace of Astorga costs 5,00 euro (6,00 with a tablet with interactive information for the visitor). The guided tour has a price of 8,00 euro. The Palace and its Museum are open seven days a week.
- Summer schedule (May to October): 10:00 to 14:00 and 16:00 to 20:00.
- Winter schedule (November to April): 10:30 to 14:00 and 16:00 to 18:30.
(Prices and opening hours as of August 2019. Tickets can be purchased in advance in their official website).