The Roman Walls of Lugo

The Roman walls of Lugo date from the 4C and have seventy one towers and ten gates, and are c.2kms in circumference. Lugo is the only city in the world where the Roman walls are complete. We had been travelling in Northern Spain and had seen Roman walls in Leon, but we were particularly looking forward to seeing the walls of Lugo.

History of Lugo

Paolo Fabio Maximo founded Lucus Augusti in 15BC by in the name of the Roman Emperor. The town needed fortifications by 3C and in 263-276 AD the walls were raised as a defence against foreign invaders and local tribesmen. Vitruvius designed the walls of stone, slate, gravel, mortar and sand. In 2000 UNESCO declared the Roman Walls of Lugo a World Heritage Site in 2000 as the best example of Late Roman military fortifications.

Plan of Roman Walls & Gates in Lugo

Puerta San Pedro

We were staying in an AirBnB down the hill and walked up the hill, into the old city, through the Puerta San Pedro, the Gate of St Peter. This is one of the original gates in the Roman walls of Lugo. This is the gate through which pilgrims on the Camino enter the city, exiting at the other side through the Puerta Mino. Near the gate, inside the walls, is a stair up to the walkway along the walls.

Puerta San Pedro, Lugo
Puerta San Pedro
Walkway on top of the Roman Walls, Lugo
Walkway on top of the Roman Walls, near the Gate of St Peter

Puerta de la Estacion

The Gate of the Station is one of the new gates. It opened in 1875 to give easier access to the railway station, hence the name. As Lugo expanded people wanted easier access to facilities and housing outside the walled city. The gateway was cut into the Roman walls; then the opening was expanded by pulling down the two towers, and finally the opening was made even larger and today’s gate built in 1921. Just inside the walls is a stair up to the walkway.

Gate of the Station in the Roman walls of Lugo
Gate of the Station
Gate of the Station in the Roman Walls of Lugo
Stair up to the top of the walls
Roman walls walkway in Lugo
Roman walls walkway between Station Gate and False Gate

Puerta Falsa

The Puerta Falsa is one of the original gates and so one of the oldest gates in the Roman walls of Lugo. This was built as a Postern Gate, in a asymmetrical position in the walls and was only for military use. It was closed during the Middle Ages and only opened again in the 17C, and in the 20C traffic was barred and steps built.

Puerta Falsa in Lugo
Puerta Falsa
Roman walls in Lugo and the Puerta Falsa
Steps through the Puerta Falsa in Lugo

Puerta San Fernando

The Puerta San Fernando was the first gate cut into the Roman walls after the Roman period, and dates from 1854. This was where the Roman Aqueduct entered the city.

Puerta San Fernando

Puerta Nova

The Puerta Nova is one of the original gateways through the Roman walls of Lugo. However, it is not the original gate. In the Middle Ages the rebuilt gate was called the Puerta Nova. The gate we see today dates from 1900.

Puerta Nova from inside the walls
Puerta Nova from inside the walls
Puerta Nova in Lugo
Walls and street outside the Puerta Nova

Bishop Odoario Gate

The Bishop Odoario Gateway dates from 1921-28 and it seems this caused something of a scandal as it was done without due regard for the historic importance of the Roman walls. This gate escaped my camera! It is opposite the church in the far background of the photograph below. This image shows one of the rectangular towers in the Roman walls.

Square tower in the Roman walls of Lugo
One of the rectangular towers in the Roman Walls of Lugo

Puerta Mina or Carme

A nearby church lends its name to this gate, which is also the way to the Minho River. And this is the route of the Camino from the city, onwards to Santiago. This gate resembles most closely the original gates in the Roman walls of Lugo.

Puerta Mino from the outside
Inside the Puerta Mino
Roman Walls in LUgo
The Ronda Muralla at the Mino Gate
Walkway over the Mino Gate, looking towards the Cathedral

Puerta Santiago

The Puerta Santiago is one of the five original Roman Gates. It was used by the Clergy and there is a statue of St James Matamoros inside the walls, and the Coat of Arms of Bishop Izquierdo. This gate leads immediately to the Cathedral. Over the centuries It has been rebuilt.

Puerta Santiago in Lugo
Puerta Santiago from outside the walls
Puerta Santiago in the Roman Walls of Lugo
Puerta Santiago from inside the walls

Bishop Aguirre Gate

In 1874 Lugo cut a fourth new gate in the Roman walls in 1874. This gateway connected to the cemetery and it was apparently also a toll gate.

The Bishop Aguirre Gate in Lugo
The Bishop Aguirre Gate in Lugo
Plaza Mayor in Lugo
Looking towards the gate from the Plaza Mayor

Campo Castelo Gate

In 1887 Lugo cut a new gate into the Roman walls because people needed access from the Courts of Justice in the town to a new jail. The Puerta de Carcere or the Gate of the Jail leads to the Plaza de Campo Castelo and gives quick access into the heart of the old town.

The Roman Walls outside the Campo Castelo Gate in Lugo
The Roman Walls outside the Campo Castelo Gate
Campo Castelo Gate in the Roman Walls of Lugo
Campo Castelo Gate

Windows in the towers

Between the Campo Castelo Gate and the Puerta San Pedro are two windows on top of the walls – apparently there were windows in some of the semi-circular towers but these are the only ones which remain.

Engraving by Cecilio Pizarro (1850), http://www.wikimedia.org
Roman walls in Lugo
Windows in one of the towers today

If you visit Lugo you have to walk round the walls! And you will join the local people walking their children, jogging, or taking an evening stroll before dinner – with wonderful views down into the old town.

Further information
The Gates of Lugo
Roman Lugo
A Guide to Lugo