Serious history enthusiasts cannot leave the Galicia region without visiting the Old Town of Lugo. This atmospheric locale dates back to 14 BC but it was only in the 3rd century when the Romans built the massive fortifications that are still intact and in good…
Serious history enthusiasts cannot leave the Galicia region without visiting the Old Town of Lugo. This atmospheric locale dates back to 14 BC but it was only in the 3rd century when the Romans built the massive fortifications that are still intact and in good shape to this day.
Lugo’s heart of the city, the former Lucus Augusti, is surrounded by a Roman Wall which is over two kilometers long. On the top of these walls are sentry pathways providing a strategic place for scenic walks to enjoy the splendid panorama of the city all the way to the beautiful Mińo River valley. It is also home to charming architecture from various periods of its long history and rejuvenating hot springs are also a big attraction in the area. On top of all these, visitors will find Lugo’s small number of tourists is a breath of fresh air from Spainís crowded major destinations.
A sightseeing tour of Lugo is best commenced on top of the city’s ancient walls. Its 1.2 mile circumference completely encloses the old town, making it an ideal place to get a splendid bird’s eye view of what is in store for you. Explore the 1,700 year-old fortification and as you walk from end to end, it is not difficult to imagine how impenetrable and intimidating these walls must have looked to invaders back in the day. It is just unfortunate that the moat has dried up; it would have made an awesome sight from above.
From the walls, head down to the Old Town center and bask in the charm of its old-world atmosphere. Impressive buildings are scattered around the area with plenty of lovely squares and tranquil gardens to discover along the way. Lugo’s largest square – Prazo Mayor – is difficult to miss because it is where most of the area’s grandest edifices are located. Check out the large 18th century Baroque Town Hall and the 16th century Clock Tower as well as the rest of the historic structures surrounding the area. While there, the many cafes will make a wonderful spot to stop and enjoy a drink and a bit of people watching before you proceed to your next stop.
Follow the downward slope of Prazo Mayor and you will be at the old town’s famous Cathedral in no time. You can also access the site via a direct flight of stairs from the Roman walls right into the cathedral’s forecourt. The structure is a perfect example of Lugo’s eclectic architecture, with Romanesque and Gothic styles from the 12th century and some Baroque and Neoclassical additions during the 17th- 18th centuries. As a result, the structure looks like several buildings merged into one. One thing is for sure though, architecture buffs will have an interesting time figuring out where one architectural style ends and another one begins. A visit inside Lugo Cathedral is also a must simply to take a look at the breathtakingly exquisite small chapels almost hidden behind the elaborate altar.
Also of interest is the Convento de San Francisco. It now houses the Provincial Museum where remarkable collections of art work, gold relics and other folk history artifacts are on display. Even if you simply walk around Lugo’s Old Town aimlessly, you can be sure to find an old piece of architecture that will stop you on your tracks for you to admire and, perhaps, snap a photo or two.