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.
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 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.