Visit Galicia – Visit the Walls of Lugo

Lugo is a city in north-western Spain in the autonomous region known as Galicia. It is the capital of the province of Galicia and in the last census in 2005 had a population of 92,271.

The really interesting thing about Lugo is that as a town it has the privilege of being the only known town in mainland Europe surrounded by a complete and intact set of fortress wall was that have existed since Roman times.

The walls of Lugo were erected in the third century A.D. and have been proved, were built to last. Some 1700 years later and here we are all talking about how good they still look so the engineers in 300 AD must have had some idea of the plot and known what they were doing.

As has been mentioned these walls are pretty substantial and extend to a combined length of over 2 km ride around the centre of the town at the height of some 10 metres. These third century Roman walls have been designated as a world heritage site by UNESCO.

Lugo was founded in 15 B.C. as Lucus Augusti, named after the then Roman Emperor Augustus. The town was probably built on the site of the old Celtic town which had existed for several hundreds of years and probably founded by the Celts of the “Cult of Lugh.”

Lucus had quite an important role at the time in that it was situated in what was called by the Romans the province of “Hispania Tarraconensis.” The administrative capital of this province at the time was in distant Tarragona so Lugo had an important local administrative role and rapidly became the most important town of its day in what became known as Gallaccia during the period of Roman occupation.

The city was the seat of a bishopric in the late 5th Century AD and even when the rest of Spain fell under the rule of the Suebi and Visigoths in later centuries in what was euphemistically known throughout Europe as the Dark Ages Lucus remained an administrative centre.

For a small town it has always been used to punching well above its weight so to speak and the establishment of a Cathedral within its town walls only added to this appearance. The Cathedral, dedicated to St Froilano was started in around 1129 though the main façade and towers actually date from around 1769.

The Diocese of Lugo (Lucensis in Latin) covers the entire province of Lugo and also part of Pontevedra and Corunna within Galicia.

Elsewhere in Lugo the “Museo Provincial” which shows displays of Galician Art, the Palace of the Arts (Circulo de las Artes) and “Spain Square” (the site of many cafes) are all well worth a visit.

Definitely not to be missed.