The capital of its province and located inland from the Galician coast, Lugo is a beautiful city with a rich cultural and historical background. Its historical importance is mainly ecclesiastical and was known to be founded by the Celts. Lugo used to be the most important Roman town in Galicia, and went onto become one of two capitals in the province. When the Romans occupied the city in 13 B.C, they built a wall to protect the city, and you can still visit the cathedral which stands within the walls. The wall had many modifications over the years but is still the most prominent symbol of the city. Lugo became the administrative unit run by a Bishop at the end of the 5th century but soon went into decline and by the 8th century was in need of revival. It had unwanted problems from the Vikings and the Moors who both set the city on fire. Today, the city’s population is 98,560 inhabitants.
The monuments of Lugo
In rural Galicia, you will come across the city of Lugo, capital of its province which is relatively undiscovered in Spain. It is said to be the oldest most historic provincial capital in Spain, therefore boasting many beautiful sights and set beside the river Mino. The Roman walls are one of the most impressive features of the city, and you will be intrigued as to what lies behind them. There are 10 gates into the old city which is mostly pedestrianized now, offering easy access for visitors discovering the small squares and gardens.
Lugo cathedral is located just inside the city walls. It is possible to descend by stairs from the city walls straight into the Cathedral courtyard. The façade is of a neoclassical design, but the rest of the cathedral is considered to be of merging architectural styles, including Gothic, Baroque, Romanesque and neoclassical. It was first built as a Romanesque Gothic temple in 1129, but it has had many additions since. Features include 2 main bell towers, and a central decoration of 3 statues. The main block has two storeys which are visible from the façade. This was only finished in 1769, therefore being the most recent part of the Cathedral. From behind, flying buttresses and an unsymmetrical design contrast the ordered façade, representing the older details of the cathedral. Behind the cathedral, you will find the Palacio Episcopal which is built in a Baroque style, conforming to the majority of the town but built entirely in granite.
Other significant buildings in Lugo include the Convento de San Francisco which is now a provincial museum and a building of Gothic style. Its collection includes coins, paintings, ceramics, folk history and clocks. Outside the city walls in the old quarter of the city is The Capilla de San Roque, a baroque church built in the 18th century. Not necessarily known for its beauty, there is a carving of San Roque above the altar. Another point of interest in the city is the Capilla del Carmen, on a Roman road, which was once on the Santiago de Compostela Pilgrimage route. It is another Baroque granite build church. Inside and round the city walls are plenty of other beautiful buildings, including the University and those used for Municipal purposes. Many of the impressive sights lie around the Santiago exit gate of the walled city and the Prazo de Maior.
Gardens and Plazas
The Prazo de Maior also lies within the city walls and is a beautiful grassed area located near one of the main gates of the wall. At one end, you can see the clock tower and the Casa Consistorial and the rectangle is surrounded by restaurants and bars. The Parque Rosalia de Castro is a beautiful area of tranquillity if you want to escape the city streets. Named after the Galician poet, this park is located just outside the city walls and has a large variety of flowers and trees and it borders the Mino River.