camino de santiago
  • Roman walls of Lugo

    Roman walls of Lugo image

    The Roman Walls of Lugo (Muralla romana) are a defining feature of the city of Lugo.  Designated a UNESCO world heritage site in 2000, the Roman walls of Lugo are considered to be 'the finest surviving example of late Roman military fortifications'.  When walking the Camino Primitivo you will enter the historical centre of Lugo through the Puerta de San Pedro gate of the walls and leave via the gate of Porto Santiago which is directly opposite the Cathedral in Lugo.

    History of the Roman Wall of Lugo

    Roman Walls of LugoConstruction of the wall began in 265AD and was not completed until 310AD.  During this period much of Roman Hispania was under threat from foreign invasion.  It is believed however that the wall was built to defend the city from revolts by local tribes, rather than foreign invaders.

    Despite the imposing nature of the Roman Wall it was breached on a number of occasions.  In the fifth century the Germanic Suevi invaded the city.  Then in 457 it was invaded by the Visigoths, who captured and settled the town. When the Moors invaded Spain, Lugo was ravaged in 714 but was recaptured by Alfonso I of Asturias in 755.  Over 200 years later, the town was once again invaded, this time by the Normans in 968.  The town was not restored until the following century.

    Today the Roman walls of Lugo are a main attraction to the town for tourists as well as those walking the Camino de Santiago.

    The Construction of the Roman Wall of Lugo

    When originally built the wall was part of a defensive complex that also comprised a moat and intervallum.  Only the walls however survive today. It is not clear what the rationale for the design was as its unusual rectangular floor plan meant some important residential areas were left outside the walls whilst empty ground was enclosed.  Enclosing some 34.4 hectares the wall has a perimeter of almost one and a half miles (2kms).  The height of the wall ranges from 8 to 12 meters and is on average 4.2 meters thick.

    The wall reflects not just the local material that was available but also the craftsmanship, tradition and style of building prevalent at that time.  Built with roman mortar consisting of locally available gravel stone, mud and possibly a small quantity of lime.  Over time some additions and repairs have been made but for the most part the walls are of the original Roman construction.

    Originally there was only five gates but due to urban growth and the requirement for access to the city there is now 10 gates.  The wall is made up of many curved turrets and two towers.  Access today is via staircases and once on the walls you are welcomed with sweeping views over the city.  It also becomes clear that the walkway has been raised over the centuries as it is now an exposed walk.  Originally, for defensive purposes, the walkway would have been much lower.  Framed on the outer side of the walls by pleasant grass lawns and illuminated at night by spot lights this can be a romantic place for a stroll under the stars with your other half.


    If you found the Roman Wall of Lugo interesting, then check out our post on the roman town of Ponte de Lima, a town that is older than Portugal.

    If you have any questions on the Camino de Santiago tours, then please don't hesitate to contact us at



    Posted By:

    Shenda O'Hare

    Working in both Sales and Marketing I get to speak directly with the customers as well as create content for the website. With a passion for travelling, history and reading and combining them all together when I can!


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