The Astorga Cathedral, a Masterpiece of Various Styles
The works at the Cathedral of Astorga were begun in1471 and lasted until the 18th century. They offer excellent examples of various architectural styles. Built on the same foundations as the old Romanesque cathedral, the inside is Gothic, the outside Baroque whilst the façade and portico are Renaissance and the cloisters Classical.
The former Romanesque cathedral was destroyed in 1265 for the construction of the present edifice in the Flamboyant Gothic Style, according to the trend in Spain, during the reign of the Catholic Kings. The Cathedral of Astorga belongs to the group of cathedrals that include Salamanca, Segovia and Plasencia. It however was very much influenced by its magnificent neighbour, the Cathedral of Leon.
The plan is very simple: three naves without a transept, with three polygonal apses in the continuation of the nave. Later, two large rectangular chapels were added on both sides of the last bay of the nave; they however cannot be considered as a transept. This latter would be more indicated at the third bay, which is longer than the other ones. The two towers on the façade, communicate with the inside of the cathedral and a chapel occupies the ground-floor.
Inside, the Cathedral of Astorga gives a great feeling of lightness and elegance with its pillars flanked with multiple colonnettes continuing in ribs without being interrupted by capitals, and with its star-shaped vaults with complicated patterns. Chapels were added on the side-aisles, in the 16th and 17th centuries. To the North were built Classical cloisters in the 18th century (1755) by Gaspar Lopez.They have five arcades on each wing, united by Ionic pillars. It opens onto four doors presenting trangular frontons.
Outside, the Cathedral of Astorga is quite picturesque. The apse, in the Plateresque Style, is remarkable with its buttresses decorated with pinnacles. The façade presents two towers connected to the main body by flying buttresses adorned with balustres. We have here a mix of Baroque and Plateresque which is totally unusual and extremely beautiful.
The reredos of the main altar was made from 1558 to 1562 by Gaspar Becerra, it is his masterpiece. The superb paintings are by Gaspar de Palencia and Gaspar de Hoyos. The stalls were sculpted in 1551 by the masters Tomas and Roberto, and the impressive choir railings were forged by Lazaro Azcain. The stained glass windows in the choir were installed in the 16th century.
Near the cathedral, you will not miss the Neo-Gothic Episcopal Palace by Antonio Gaudi.
Cathedral of Astorga and Episcopal Palalce by A. Gaudi.
Grand Altar at Astorga Cathedral.
Cathedral of Astorga, West Front.
The Cloisters at the Cathedral of Astorga.