Nestled in the captivating Autonomous Region of Galicia in northwestern Spain, lies the enchanting city of Lugo, a place like no other in the world. For here, the passage of time seems to have stood still, preserving a remarkable treasure from the ancient past. Lugo proudly boasts of being the sole city on Earth encircled by completely intact Roman walls, standing tall and proud for almost two millennia.
Imagine strolling through history, where every step takes you back to the 3rd and 4th centuries AD. These awe-inspiring walls, stretching over 2,117 meters (6,946 feet), soar to a height of 10 to 15 meters (33 to 49 feet), adorned with 85 external towers. Their sturdy construction, a testament to Roman engineering brilliance, has endured the test of time, safeguarding the city’s legacy for generations to come.
Protected by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, Lugo’s Roman walls represent a remarkable blend of architectural, archaeological, and engineering prowess. Fashioned using local materials like slate, granite, and even pieces salvaged from ancient Roman structures, the walls exude an authentic charm of late imperial craftsmanship.
A leisurely stroll atop the walls grants visitors a unique perspective, allowing them to traverse the entire circuit while marveling at the grandeur of the past. Towering battlements, fortifications, and modern as well as original gates and stairways add to the awe-inspiring panorama. An enclosing moat and a series of double staircases leading to the towers further enhance the architectural brilliance.
Throughout the centuries, the walls have been witness to Lugo’s transformation, shaping the city’s layout and growth. Anointed as a Historical-Artistic Ensemble in 1973, the walls have become an inseparable part of urban life. From locals to curious travelers, generations have reveled in the pleasure of this timeless wonder.
Legend whispers an intriguing tale behind the walls’ creation. It is said that the Romans erected these mighty defenses not to safeguard a city but a sacred forest— “Augustus’ Holy Forest,” or “Lucus Augusti” in Latin— from which the city derives its name. Although the forest may now be shrouded in mystery, the formidable walls remain, defying time itself and whispering echoes of the past to those with the heart to listen.
As you walk through the ancient streets of Lugo, embraced by the legacy of the Roman walls, it becomes evident that this city is more than just a place—it is a living connection to an extraordinary past. With each passing moment, Lugo continues to captivate the hearts of all who tread upon its ancient grounds.