The San Roque Archeologic Center
Most people who visit Lugo are visibly impressed and rightly so, by the well-preserved Roman walls, which are a UNESCO monument. The evidence of Roman occupation, however, does not stop there, and one of Lugo's most important sites (death and burial being a preoccupation of the Romans) is largely bypassed in travel books, and thus, by visitors to the city. Which is a great pity.
Just outside the Roman walls to one side and below the chapel of Saint Roque is a still relatively unknown but very interesting small museum called San Roque Archelogic Center which houses a big Roman necropole that was started to be excavated only in 1989. The archelogic dig turned up 40 burial tombs and 4 tombs for incinerated remains. In the following years, more fascinating finds were found, including a big tank that was decorated with two mythical figures, as well as a ceramic oven to produce construction materials for the late Roman period.
The use of this funeral site, situated just outside the walls, was until the end of 5th century AD. The big tank is dated between 1st and 2nd century AD, and although its precise use has not been established, it is possible that it has a relation to the funeral practices. It is probable that there is religious symbolism in this as it was built on top of an underground water source which was curiously sealed, and today can only be visible through the tank.
In the final years of the 5th century AD, some industrial activity took place in this area, which as usual at that time, was always located outside the city limits. A high number of roof tiles found around point to the possibility that this was a kiln used to manufacture construction materials.
As we were the only visitors when we went, a lady there graciously took us around and explained the archeologic work they did (and still are doing). It was interesting to note when we were on our way out to find that the person who was on the welcome desk was the archeologist himself who was involved in the work here, and who was the author of a book prominently displayed. The Roman vestiges are well-preserved and certainly worth a short visit.
- Museum Visits
- Historical Travel
Santa Eulalia de Bóveda: unique Roman structure
The purpose of this unique structure believed to be from the 3rd-4th century AD, which has a portico, a small pool in the center, naves and columns, and frescoes has not been established definitively -- scholars have interpreted it to be from a type of baths, "nymph's cave" to a temple dedicated to some god/goddess.
In Bóveda can be found one of the most important collection of frescoes in Roman Hispania. The paintings are mostly of birds, with vases also found among them. The sculpture decoration on the walls are unique --in one, they seem to depict children.
It can be difficult to take good photos of Bóveda, as it is an enclosed place, and the only natural light coming in is through the relatively small entrance and tiny openings, like windows. The entire place is small, but its rich and unique ancient decorations are worth seeing. The road to Bóveda and the countryside around it is very picturesque, which makes the trip even more worthwhile.
- Historical Travel
- Museum Visits
Roman thermal baths
Just a hundred meters from the Miño river, very close to the city center, are the Roman thermal public baths. The baths were discovered in 1815 and were restored by the local authorities. From 1846, new installations were built on the surface of where these baths are located, but keeping the original Roman structures below ground well-preserved. The Hotel Balneario was later built on top of the baths, and today, and access to the baths is only through the hotel premises.
The bath complex has an apodyterium, the caldarium, the tepidarium, and the frigidarium. The baths were built in this area to take advantage of the presence of natural hot water, with a temperature of 43.8 degrees Celsius.
There is no entrance fee. You just need to go to the hotel reception desk and ask for permission and instructions.
- Museum Visits
- Historical Travel
Around the Plaza Mayor
Lugo has a most impressive municipal area known as the Plaza Mayor which lies within the old town walls. This large rectangular square is close to the cathedral and one of the main gates into the historic district. The Plaza Mayor has the town's clock tower and the Casa Consistorial building. There are also numerous cafes and restaurants overlooking the Plaza.
The square has a large lawned area with beautiful flowers and shrubs as its central feature. On Sunday mornings in the summer months, you can sit and relax and listen to some classical music played by a local band in the small covered amphitheatre.
The cathedral is another of the city's architectural treasures. The incredible chapel of the Virgin de los Ojos Grandes, is very Romanesque with valuable Baroque elements. The beautiful Renaissance choir which is the altarpiece by Cornelius of Holland, and an original tympanum in the north door, are some of the temple's most significant details. The central nave, which is extremely high and has slightly pointed arches, points to a Gothic influence. Construction of the temple began in the year 1129 under the direction of Raimundo de Monforte, and at the end of the eighteenth century the main facade was built which was of neoclassical work designed by Julian Sanchez Bort.
The Roman Wall
These walls were built by the romans as a way to keep the city safe from enemy attacks. They were constucted over a period of 45 years between 265 AD and 310 AD. Lugo is located in a hill and the wall surrounds its top. During the following centuries, numerous modifications and repairs were needed to preserve it, but it still stands today as the most prominent symbol of the city.
The wall has a total length of almost one and a half miles and varies between 8 metres and 12 metres in thickness. At its highest level the wall is about thirty five feet tall and is in the unusual shape of a quadrangle. The original wall had five Roman gates, not the ten of today. It has many curved turrets (82 out of the original 85 still remain) and two significant towers, both of which have two separate levels.
The wall surrounds the "downtown" part of the city and it has several entrances. The original Roman gates are, the Mina, the Neuva, the Falsa, the San Pedro, and the Santiago gates. The other five, and more recent, gates resulted from the development of the town and its ever increasing need for more entrances.
This was a great place to take an early morning stoll or long afternoon walk. We ended up walking the entire way around. It was the perfect place to get a good view of the historic distict from above. We ran into a lot of the city residents walking their dog, jogging or just taking a leisurly stoll like us.
The Gate of Santiago
When you leave the walled old town you have to pass this gate (Puerta de Santiago) in your way on foot to Santiago de Compostela. See the yellow arrow showing the way to the pilgrims.
- Budget Travel
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Plaza Major lies within the old town walls, it is close to the cathedral. Plenty of Cafes and Restaurants. Sit and relax and watch the world go by, well some of it.
Walk round the top of the wall . Lugo is the only city in the world to be surrounded by completely intact roman walls. The wall has 10 gates and 71 towers.
Saint Mary s cathedral better known as Lugo cathedral is a Roman Catholic cathedral in L ugo Spain. The building was started in the 12 th century.
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