Lugo is a vivid provincial city and best known for it’s ancient Roman wall. The old city of Lugo is completely surrounded by an intact Roman wall. Unique in the world! The wall and other Roman remains are characteristic for the city. Nowhere in Spain you’ll find so much Roman remains. Visit Lugo, have a walk over the wall and feel like you’re back in the Roman era for a moment.
Location and population
Lugo has around 100,000 inhabitants. It’s the fourth city of Galicia. Lugo is also the capital of the province it gaves name. The province of Lugo is in the northeast of Galicia. In the north is the Cantabric sea, and the most northern point of Spain. The easter border is with the Spanish regions Asturias and Castilla-Leon.
The city of Lugo is centrally located in the province. As the people of Lugo say, in an hour you can go everywhere: beaches, A Coruña, Santiago de Compostela, the beautiful Ribeira Sacra and also outside of Galicia.
Lugo was probably founded by the Celts, before the Roman era. However, it is the Romans who build the city and gave its name. Originally the city was called Lucus Augusti by the Romans, meaning something like ‘the holy forest of August’. Not a bad name, for a city in such a forestal area. It where also the Romans who build the wall that’s still there.
After the flourishing Roman era the city emptied in the 7th and 8th century. It took till the medieval era till for the city started to grow again. In the 12th century the construction of the cathedral started. In those days the city was also an important pelgrimage town. After the Roman wall the cathedral is Lugo’s most visible building. However, the towers weren’t part of the original plan. They were added in the 18th century.
Nowadays Lugo is a typical provincial town. Well, typical, there’s no other place in Spain with that many Roman remains.
Roman wall of Lugo
It’s the symbool of Lugo: the Roman wall. The building already last for abount 2000 years. What a time! It endured many wars and still stands still. The wall was originally build in the 2nd century to protect the city from invading tribes.
The roman wall of Lugo is the most complete and best preserved Roman defence wall of Europe! The entire city wall is in total no less then 2km long. Precisely 2,120 metres.
As the wall is quite wide (minimal 4 metres) it’s possible to walk on it. At the wall is constructed a large path. The wall is 4 to 8 metres high. Giving you openness and nice views of the city.
The city wall consist of 10 gates that give access to the old city. Originally there where 5 gates, but in the 19th century 5 new gates were added to give people of the growing city a better access.
Besides the gates the wall has also many towers. There are still 49 towers fully intact from the Roman era and also 39 that have not survived that well.
You can access the wall via 4 staircases and also 2 ramps for bicycles and wheelchairs. Since 2000 the Roman wall of Lugo is on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Other places of interest
Cathedral van Lugo (Catedral de Santa María)
The biggest building of the city. First build in the 12th century. In the 18th century the characteristic towers where added and a new facade. Due to the (re)buildings in several centuries the cathedral has several building styles.
Enjoy the outside, but don’t forget to have a look inside as well. Especially the chapel of the ‘Virgen de los ojos grandes’ (Virgin with the big eyes) is worth a visit.
It’s not only the Roman wall that endured many years. The Roman bridge of Lugo also has its age. This bridge over the Rio Miño is almost 2000 years old. Off course there have been some restorations over time, but it’s still a special feeling walking over a bridge that is so old and still holding strong.
Roman baths in Hotel Balneario
Galicia really has a luxury Spa culture (balnearios). In the past those spa’s were build around warm water sources, like we know from Ourense. This spa in Lugo is very special, it’s build around the rests of an old Roman bath. In the centre of the Hotel Balneario Lugo you can have a look at the rests of the old Roman baths. And after this impressive cultural experience, you can relax in the modern spa of the hotel.
Casa los mosaicos
And even more Roman history! In Casa los Mosaicos you go underground to a former ‘domus’, a distinguished house from the Roman period. Below the ground is uncouvered a beautiful and big intact mosaic floor.
Parc of Rosalía de Castro
Nearby the cathedral, in the city centre, you will find this big parc. A lovely place for a rest or a quite walk.
The banks of the Rio Miño
Lugo is located at the Rio Miño. At the banks of this river are fantastic walking and biking paths. Starting in the city centry you easily take some kilometers besides the flowing water.
Main visiting tip
What to do when in Lugo? After reading all information above you can probably guess: having a walk on the Roman wall off course!
Go for a run is also possible. Have fun!