A visit to the city of Lugo

The Galician city of Lugo is the starting point for many pilgrims who undertake the Camino de Santiago from this town. And home of Pambretours.com

What sights can we discover in this part of our tour? Let’s know a little better the wonders of this corner of Galicia.

1) Its History

The city of Lugo has a Roman origin. It was founded in 25 B.C. by Paulo Fabio Máximo and is the oldest in Galicia. It was built in the vicinity of a castro and in Roman times was called Lucus Augusti. Archaeological remains are preserved from this period: mosaics, temples, Roman baths…


In the 3rd century the city was the capital of conventus lucensis, one of the three administrative entities into which Gallaecia was divided.

Between 260 and 325 A.D., during the Low Roman Empire, the construction of a wall was begun to fortify the city. It is the famous wall of Lugo, which currently retains its entire perimeter surrounding the Cathedral, the provincial museum, the town hall and other buildings of interest.

After the Swabian invasions of 460 and the celebration of the Council of Lugo, the church of Lugo became a metropolitan see, with the bishops of Astorga, Britonia, Iria Flavia, Orense and Tuy depending on it.

During the reign of the Visigoths, it was the episcopal see of the Catholic Church. Later, after the foundation of Oviedo and the discovery of the tomb of the Apostle Santiago in Compostela, its importance was relegated to a secondary role.

In 741, King Alfonso I ordered the reconstruction of the devastated city after the Muslim invasions. Lugo was the only metropolitan church reconquered between the 8th century and the first half of the 9th century.

In 842 a large Galician army gathered in the city to conquer Oviedo and raise Ramiro I, the first king of the Galician dynasty, to the throne.

Alfonso VI gave him the bishopric and lordship of the city and in the year 1129 began the construction of the Romanesque cathedral in charge of the master Raimundo and dedicated to Santa María, called “Virgen de los Ojos Grandes” (Virgin of the Big Eyes).

From the 8th century Lugo became a place of reference for pilgrims on the Primitive Route of the Way of St. James.

In the 18th century it was granted the privilege of organizing the festivities of San Froilán.

In 1833, with the creation of the provincial councils, the town was designated as provincial capital.

Today Lugo is a commercial and service capital with an important university campus specialized in Agricultural Sciences.

2) Places of tourist interest

From the Roman period some sections of road, thermal baths or bridges are preserved. Among the most monumental places of the city are:

  • The wall of Lugo: it is the main monument of the city and one of the reasons why Lugo is known internationally. It has 17 centuries of history. It began to be built by the Romans in 260 AD until the time of Constantine. At this time barbarian peoples were threatening the northern borders of the Roman Empire, so Rome fortified some of its most important cities.muralla-lugoThe wall of Lugo was declared a National Monument in 1921 and on November 30, 2000 it became a World Heritage Site recognized by UNESCO. Its perimeter is 2,118 meters and its height is between 8 and 12 meters. Originally the wall had 85 towers of which 71 are still standing, and five gates (Porta Miña, Porta de Santiago, Porta de San Pedro which was the main one, Porta Nova and Porta Falsa), although later five others were added. We access the wall walkway by stairs of the eighteenth century (the original ones are closed). The accesses to the wall are the stairs of Porta Nova, the ramp of Santiago, the stairs of the Puerta Falsa built in 1887, the stairs of the Puerta de la Estación, the stairs of the Plaza de Cantiño, near the Puerta de San Pedro and the stairs of Campo Castelo. It is advisable to take our time to complete the walk as you can see the entire city of Lugo from above and thus understand the grandeur of this historical jewel.
  • The facade of the City Hall: dates from the early eighteenth century (1738) and is considered a representative example of Galician baroque. It has two towers decorated with coats of arms of the city. The Clock Tower was built in 1871 and stands out among the architectural ensemble. concello-de-lugoThe entire building is built in stone masonry. It has two floors and in the lower one there are eight semicircular arches that give access to the porch. The square where the City Hall is located is called Plaza España and retains almost all of its medieval framework. In 1914 the fountain that presided over the square was removed to build gardens and an allegorical sculpture of Spain was erected at the entrance to the park. Some of the old houses of two or three floors with their arcades and the bandstand are still preserved. In another corner of the square is the building of the Círculo de las Artes.
  • The Cathedral of Santa Maria: construction began in 1129 and is in Romanesque style and has a Latin cross plan with three naves, transept and ambulatory with five apsidal chapels. The central nave is of great height and has slightly pointed arches. sta-maria-lugoThe chapels are the chapel of the Virgen de los Ojos Grandes, the chapel of San Froilán, del Pilar and Santa Lucía. The first stage of construction goes from 1129 to 1273. At that time, the north door was built, preceded by a Plateresque portico. The whole is the work of the master Raimundo de Monforte who dedicated it to Saint Mary, also called Virgin of the Big Eyes. The second Renaissance stage dates back to the beginning of the 17th century. From this period dates the choir of the Cathedral, a creation of the master Francisco Moure and also an altarpiece by Cornelius de Holanda. The tower, the cloister and the chapel of the Virgen de los Ojos Grandes are Baroque.
  • Church of San Pedro: it was part of the convent of San Francisco de Lugo and, according to tradition, would have been founded by St. Francis of Assisi himself in 1214, during his hypothetical pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. san-pedro-lugoIt has a Latin cross plan and is possibly the only temple that preserves a legacy of Mudejar art in Galicia.

3) Leisure and gastronomy

One of the main tourist attractions of the city of Lugo is its excellent gastronomy. Some of the typical dishes of the region are the Galician broth, octopus á feira, empanada or trout.

It is worth visiting the historic center of the city to know the area of pinchos and tapas. Highlights include the taverns of the Rúa Nova (known as Rúa dos Viños) and Plaza do Campo, used in the past as a market and today the center of social life with its 18th century baroque fountain. This part of the city is the most beautiful. It preserves many of its medieval buildings now rehabilitated.


In Campo Castelo we also find all kinds of places, from terraces to cafés-tertulia, with a multi-cultural atmosphere where the locals mingle with tourists visiting the city.

The streets near the cathedral are quite bustling, with music and entertainment until late hours.

Outside the historic center there are also places for tapas and fun. The university area is the most modern of the city. In the Marina area you will also find some establishments where you can enjoy music and live shows.

And how about finishing our tour by visiting some museums? The most important are the Diocesan and Cathedral Museum of Lugo located in the Cathedral, the Provincial Museum of Lugo located in the old convent of San Francisco which stands out for its collection of Celtic goldsmiths, the House of Mosaics or the Archaeological Center of San Roque.

There are so many interesting places to discover Galicia! Find out more about how to organize your tour.

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