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Palacio Episcopal de Astorga (1889-1893)

In September of 1889, Bishop Grau died, and the Diocesan Commission for Temple Restoration did not want to continue the project, because it seemed too complicated. Gaudí was abandoned and became demoralized, ultimately resigning from the project. During this time of misunderstanding, Gaudí went so far as to say, "they would be incapable of finishing it and capable of leaving it unfinished." And that is how it went, until 1906, when diocesan architect Ricardo garcía Guereta placed his hands on the work, straying considerable from Gaudí's original plans yet allowing himself to be inspired by the great architect in many of the details, such as the cupulas on the chimneys.

The building recalls a medieval for and is surrounded by a moat which gives light and facilitates ventilation to the basement, which consists of file rooms, a wine cellar and the doorman's living quarters. On the first floor, they had to construct the kitchen, secretary's quarters, and the conference room and tribunal, among other offices. According the Gaudí's design, the hall was meant to elevate itself up to the ceiling, where chandeliers were hung, giving light to the entire central body of the structure, like in Palau Güell.

The principal floor has the throneroom, library, the rooms and office of the bishop, a chapel, and various other offices and rooms for receiving visitors and guests. Gaudí wanted the bedrooms to be on the second floor.

As I mentioned, Gaudí planned to have chandeliers hanging from the ceilings to illuminate the hall. Architect Garcí Guereta didn't pay any attention to this and left the central hall without any of this desired light.

Very prevelant are the glass windows which cover the facade, mainly at the height of the noble floor.

The material used in the facades and in the interior pilars was white granite from Bierzo. The structure is based around suppporting walls and pilars which hold up the pointed arches. The nerves of these arches are decorated with glassed-over ceramic made in the neighboring town of Jiménez de Jamuz. The spectacular starred spyres of the pilars also stand out.

These days, the episcopal palace is known in Astorga as "Gaudí's Palace" and in its basement is found the "Museo de los Caminos" (Roads Museum).

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