You are facing another magnificent work of the extravagant and mystical genius that was Antonio Gaudi. In here the Catalan architect did as he did in many other places. He studied the surroundings and looked for the best way his work of art would fit beside all the buildings around it, and also to fit the history of the area. In the case of this Palace of Astorga’s Bishop it was quite easy. Since the fall of Rome the city had flourished for being the seat of the region’s bishop in the Middle Ages.
Gaudi chose the neo-gothic style, very much in fashion in the year 1887 when the bishop, Doctor Grau, convinced him to raise this amazing building, which, as Jose Fernandez Perez manager of the building until 2014 tells us, is at the same time a miniature cathedral, a palace and a gothic castle with its own ditch and all. But of course,without crocodiles!
The Palace was built under a lot of pressure. First of all because the marquis of Cubas did nothing more than give Gaudi difficulties. Second because the money that was sent from Madrid arrived late, to the extent that the bishop had to give it in front from his own pocket. And third because in 1893 Gaudi left the work hanging, when the bishop Grau, his client, died suddenly and he had to face the Works Council for disagreements, those that happen between geniuses like Mr Gaudi and the ones that have the art of balancing the books.
Like this, as we were saying, Gaudi left the top part of the building unfinished, until Ricardo Garcia Guereta finished it in 1914. Truth is he did as good as he could and his work wasn’t at all bad. Don’t you think?
Even so, the building clearly has the stamp of Gaudi. What other artist could’ve ever thought of such a building that looks like is out of a fairy tale, of a Lord of The Rings episode or even out of a remote corner of Game of Thrones?
And to finish up, a couple of interesting facts: the first one is that this Episcopal Palace was never used as such. It ended up as a Museum of the Roads, so make sure you check the times to visit inside this peculiar building in which Gaudi left a good legacy.
And the second fact is that if you look at the tower pointing North, you can see that its diameter is wider than the other ones. This is because in its interior there is a spiral staircase that brings you to all of its floors.