The Palace of the Guzmanes (Palacio de los Guzmanes) is the current headquarters of the Diputación de León (the provincial government) is one of the most beautiful palaces in the city of Leon, Spain.
Don Juan de Quiñones y Guzmán, bishop of Calahorra, commanded its construction to Rodrigo Gil de Hontañón, the most important architect back then. He had planned the University of Alcalá de Henares and the Palacio Monterrey in Salamanca. The Palacio de los Guzmanes’ construction took place between 1559 and 1572 in the lands where the old city Wall used to stand, and also the place where the family’s older palace was. This was a mudejar building that was knocked down in order to build the new one. The construction work was never finished and the palace deteriorated until i tended up abandoned.
In 1882 it was purchased by the provincial government (Diputación) for its recovery, and since then, a series of reforms have taken place. They concluded with the extension carried out between 1973 and 1976 by the architect Felipe Moreno.
It is a place of delicate elegance from the Renaissance, with flair and structural simplicity. Inside, the extraordinary courtyard leads up the stairs to the administrative offices. At the main entrance, there are two reliefs: one represents Saint Augustine washing Pilgrim Christ’s feet. The other is the Annunciation. Likewise, there’s the sculpture of the aforementioned bishop Juan Quiñones de Guzmán, work by Valentín Yugueros. In the façade there is the mysterious Guzmanes’ coat of arms, a bucket with six snakes getting out.
The building’s base is like a trapezoid, with four towers at the corners and an indoor courtyard with columns and beautiful stained glass windows at the second level. The palace has two parts: balconies in the upper one and barred windows in the lower one. The main façade makes up a third part, which is a gallery of glazed arches between Corinthian pilasters. The building’s floors are vertically connected through a spiral staircase located at the Southeast tower.