Walls of Lugo: history, strength, and survival | 7 Wonders of Ancient Spain

Centuries before Christ several of the best Greek intellectuals proposed some places that every good Hellenic citizen should visit. In the past these were sought after by Greek citizens to cause Stendhal syndromes. If you have trouble finding something similar in Spain, we can surely help you. Let’s get to the point, here we show you one of the seven wonders of ancient Spain, we are talking about the walls of Lugo.

As the rest of the monuments in this list, the wall of Lugo has something special. Something that comes from its history, from its power and from having survived. Because as in the list of Antipater of Sidon, Strabo or Herodotus, you can see all these wonders with your own eyes. Like them, we have been guided by the allegory and beauty they convey rather than by tangible criteria. It is more beautiful that way. Specifically, our Lucan landmark reminds u  s of a military building. The walls of the ancient Lucus have miraculously survived wars and the worst enemy of defensive enclosures, the expansions.

Why was the wall of Lugo important?

The ancient Lucus Augusti and the present-day city of Lugo separated by the city wall

The ancient Lucus Augusti and the present-day city of Lugo separated by the city wall | Shutterstock

There are many versions of what Rome was built on. Engineering, military advances, industry, law… A pragmatic view would be to say that it was based on taxes. They arrived in a place, negotiated with the native populations and gave them two options, pay taxes and thus retain some autonomy and Romanize or make them disappear. In Gallaecia, a province in northwestern Spain that now includes present-day Galicia, the transition from being free to Romanization was short-lived.

How this affected the wall of Lugo seems clear. At the beginning of the first century Lucus Augusti was a reality. In all Galicia, it was seen in castros like Santa Trega, Rome quickly took hold. Everything went well for the recent empire. The place was full of gold and they were great miners, the Bierzo is an example of this. In this way the territory remained populated and the center of attention of the Eternal City. Lucus prospered connected to Braga and Astorga. All this meant that when protection was needed, the city acted quickly.

These protections were extremely important because they protected a primordial enclave. An enormous work with a mysterious layout. So important was it that this Galician capital has always grown by sticking to it. Moreover, since it survived, it can be said that the wall was a success.

Roman wall of Lugo

Roman wall of Lugo | Shutterstock

The wall of Lugo was erected in the third century, which was a very bad time for the empire. Rome was in chaos due to many crises that followed one after the other. In this context, impressive walls would be a great help. So let’s get to work. Over the course of decades, 2,117 meters of walls were erected. Five gates, more than 80 towers… The walls were several meters thick and could withstand the weapons of war of the time.

It should be noted that the Roman Empire had a numerous but weakened external defensive system. Frontier detachments and deep defenses guarded the passage to its territory. But the leaks were worse than those seen in German submarine movies. The barbarians, whether they were Suevi or Goths, were continually sneaking in. If they pushed and managed to reach internal areas, the poor cities were plundered with impunity. That is why Lugo wanted to protect itself

The works lasted from the middle of the 3rd century to the beginning of the 4th century. According to the Heritage website of the Ministry of Culture and Sport, it was a continuous event. Hence the uniformity of the whole. The history of this marvel of ancient Spain began to protect an imperial property. Purpose that would only last as long as the empire. Not long. Then it went on to serve the city, of which it has been the predecessor.

How has the wall of Lugo been maintained to this day?

Anyone wonders how the hell an entire wall, from the time of Rome to boot, has been able to survive to the present day. Because the advance is what has led to the disappearance of the walls. If they did not serve to protect from war with the appearance of gunpowder, why leave them to hinder urban development. We do not really know how it has been able to stay this way, but in the case of this marvel of Lugo, let’s thank God for it.

It has had almost no modifications throughout history. It passed from the Visigoths to the Asturians and from there to the Muslims. Back in Christian hands, the decline was clear but the city survived. So did its walls. The enclosure protected the main square and the cathedral, as well as a good part of the population. It should be noted that the Romans left empty land inside the walls and inhabited areas outside, and this arrangement was maintained over time.

In the Modern Age five more gates were opened to adapt to the times. Houses attached to the walls also flourished. These buildings were cleaned by 20th century projects. Thus, without clear reasons, the wall of Lugo reached the present day being a unique and complete example in the whole territory of the ancient Roman Empire.

Why does the wall of Lugo still amaze us?

Adarve or Lugo's promenade

Walls of Lugo. | Shutterstock

That the wall of Lugo seems to us a marvel is not something totally subjective, however we must emphasize that UNESCO has declared it a World Heritage Site. The set is completed by more Roman remains, such as domus with mosaics or baths. Near the city is the mysterious temple of Santa Eulalia de Bóveda, which may be from the Roman or perhaps Visigothic period. Whatever the case may be, going to this Galician capital means taking a bath in Rome.

Its magical halo makes it blend in perfectly with the city. Walking along its guarded promenade or looking through one of its cubes makes it clear you have to experience this sensation!It also helps that the old Camino passes through the city, following the Roman road and passing through gates, such as San Pedro, which remains in its original state. In addition, the Jacobean route is the oldest preserved, by which an ancient Asturian king traveled to Santiago. If you wanted ancestrality, eat this.

All the reasons that we have told you make that, at least for us, the wall of Lugo is considered one of the wonders of Ancient Spain. Spoiler warning, Rome will continue to have weight, but do not think that it will be the only civilization present. No matter how much they imposed their culture, the previous ones left remains as eternal as theirs. For the moment, we have to admit that we are surrendered to such beauty.

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