The Castle-Palace of la Bisbal d’Empordà | Cultural Heritage. Goverment of Catalonia.
The Castle-Palace of la Bisbal d’Empordà The Romanesque "Alcatraz"

The Castle-Palace of la Bisbal d’Empordà, a construction that was at the same time castle, palace and prison, is one of the few examples of Romanesque civil architecture conserved in Catalan territory.

Located in the middle of a Medieval village, it was occupied for centuries by the lords of the region, the Bishops of Girona. The clergy obtained absolute control of la Bisbal (hence the name's origin) thanks to King Jaume I who granted them civil and criminal jurisdiction of the city. The castle became the site of spiritual and terrestrial power of its Lords. From its vantage point in the centre of the village, the bishops controlled the lands bathed by the river Daró and also administered justice which spurred the need for a prison.

The first thing that draws attention in the castle-palace is its sheer grandness. Boasting a rectangular layout, the original Romanesque building has been modified numerous times with structures of other styles (like the door and some Renaissance windows in the façade). As characteristic elements of Romanesque architecture we find semicircular voussoired windows in the North East and North West façade of the castle. In the latter area, there is also a basement constructed with inclined bricks, known as opus spicatum, a commonly utilised technique during antiquity and the first Middle Ages. Once inside the castle, we pass through a clearly Romanesque corridor, covered by a quarter circle vault and, descending the stairs we find the famous castle prison, a rectangular room covered with a semicircular arch.

The doors of the five rooms on the first floor are also crowned by these arches. If the bottom-most part is the prison, the highest part is the location of the chapel of Sant Miquel, also in the Romanesque style. The chapel is located in a rectangular space that, seen from the outside, is the most outstanding of the entire complex. With only a single nave the church is covered by a slightly pointed barrel vault.
 
The Castle-Palace of la Bisbal d’Empordà is part of the ‘Romanesque weekend: L'Empordà’ getaway.




Authors of the photographs: Toniher and PMRMaeyaert.

Plan your visit

What can I do?
  • If you don’t want to miss any details, take advantage of the guided tour to the Castle-Palace of the Bisbal d'Empordà. The route also includes a tour of the old city center.
Timetables
Summer
Monday: closed
From Tuesday to Friday: from 9.30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Saturdays: from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and from 4.30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Sundays and holidays: from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
 
Winter
Monday to Wednesday: closed
Thursday: from 5pm to 8pm
Fridays and Saturdays: from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Sundays and holidays: from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Prices
Guided tour
General: € 5

They have the right to free:
  • Children under 12 years old

Special cases:
  • Group visits: prior reservation at the tourist office
Contact
Castle-Palace of la Bisbal d’Empordà
Plaça del Castell, s/n
17100 La Bisbal d'Empordà (Girona)
Tel. (+34) 972 645 500 / (+34) 972 645 166
castell@labisbal.cat
turisme@labisbal.cat
Where to eat and stay?