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Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Lugo

Lugo is situated on the upper Miño (Galician Minho), in the uplands of Galicia, in northwestern Spain. It is a town with a long history: there was a Celtic settlement on the site, and the Romans developed it into an important city and military base under the name of Lucus Augusti.

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Town Walls

Roman Town WallsRoman Town Walls View slideshow
The town center is completely enclosed by the old town walls, built by the Romans in the second and third centuries A.D. and renovated or rebuilt in the 14th century. They have a total length of 2,131m/2,330yd, an average height of 11m/36ft and an average thickness of 4.5m/15ft. Of the original total of 85 towers 50 have survived the various sieges of the town. There are ten gates, the oldest of which are the Puerta de Miñá, Puerta de Falsa and Puerta de Nova. The Puerta de Santiago, opposite the cathedral, was built in the 18th century and is surmounted by a figure of Santiago Matamoros, St James as the Moor-Slayer. At the gates there are steps up to the wall-walk, and a walk round it, which takes about half an hour, affords interesting glimpses of the town, including its back yards, and views of the surrounding hills.

Town Centre

Town CentreTown Centre

Plaza de España & Plaza Mayor

The lively hub of Lugo's life is the Plaza de España, a spacious square with a parking lot in the Alameda, a tree-shaded avenue, a bandstand and a wide boulevard along the north side with rows of cafe tables tempting the sightseer to relax and watch the world go by. The east side of the square is dominated by the Casa Consistorial (Town Hall, C. 1735) with its handsome Baroque facade.

Palacio Episcopal

From the west end of the Alameda steps lead down to the Plaza de Santa María, on the right-hand side of which is the plain ashlar facade, decorated with coats of arms, of the Bishop's Palace (18th C.).

Santa María Cathedral

Santa Maria Cathedral 3270
Opposite the Bishop's Palace in Lugo is the tower on the north front of the granite cathedral, begun in 1129 by Raimundo de Monforte but not completed until the 18th century; it is thus a conglomerate of many styles. The north doorway and porch, with a very beautiful figure of Christ in the act of blessing, are among the oldest parts of the building. A narrow street along the north side leads into the large but peaceful Plaza Pio XII, in which is the Baroque west front of the Cathedral with its twin towers, the last part of the structure to be built (1768). On the right is the cloister, which also dates from the 18th century. On the far side of the square is the Puerta de Santiago, with a broad flight of steps leading up to the top of the walls.

Cathedral - Interior

Cathedral - Interior 3289
The cathedral can be entered either by the north doorway or by the main doorway. The interior, like the exterior, shows a variety of styles. The richly decorated choir-stalls (by Francisco Mouro) date from 1625. In both transepts are altars with carved retablos; the one in the north transept was the work of a Dutchman, Cornelis de Holanda (16th C.). In the Capilla Mayor the Host is permanently exposed. The chapel contains a painted alabaster statue of the Virgin (12th C.).

Chapel of Our Lady of the Large Eyes

Behind the Capilla Mayor is the Capilla de Nuestra Señora de los Ojos Grandes, one of the finest examples of Baroque architecture, built by Fernando Casas y Novóa, the architect responsible for the west front of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.

Plaza del Campo

To the north of the cathedral, beyond the Bishop's Palace, lies the picturesque old town of Lugo with its irregular streets. Its most attractive square is the little Plaza del Campo, surrounded by arcaded houses, with a fountain in the center.

Santo Domingo

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From the Plaza de España the Calle de la Reina runs north into the elongated Plaza de Santo Domingo, in the center of which is a tall column topped by an eagle. On the north side of the square the monastic church of Santo Domingo (begun in 1280) has a beautiful Romanesque doorway and Churrigueresque retablos.

Provincial Museum

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Immediately west of the Plaza de Santo Domingo is the Provincial Museum, with a collection which includes Roman antiquities, Galician craft products, pictures, prints, coins and ceramics. A particular attraction is a fully-equipped kitchen such as would be found in an old peasant's house.

Diputación Provincial

In Calle San Marcos, in the newer part of the town center, is the Neo-Classical building (1886) occupied by the Diputación Provincial, the provincial government authority.

Surroundings

Detail of Cathedral of La Asuncion, MondonedoDetail of Cathedral of La Asuncion, Mondonedo Jose Luis Cernadas Iglesias View slideshow

Way of St James

An ancient route taken by the pilgrims on their way to the tomb of the Apostle of St. James, the Way of St James is a World Heritage Site. Lining the route are ancient churches, monasteries, chapels and hostels.

Boveda, Spain

Leave Lugo on N 640, going south, and in 4km/2.5mi turn right into the road to Friol, from which a narrow road on the left is signposted to Bóveda. This passes through a verdant region of woodland and meadows, with areas of pastureland and small fields enclosed by granite walls. The tiny village of Bóveda is worth seeing for its own sake, with its low slated granite houses enclosed by walls and its hórreos (maize stores) - the very picture of a typical old Galician village.

Santa Eulalia

Bóveda's particular attraction, however, is the little church of Santa Eulalia de Bóveda, in the basement of a house on the left at the entrance to the village, which has been declared a national monument. The church is believed to have originally been a Roman nymphaeum (shrine housing a sacred spring) which was converted to Christian use. In the center of this underground chamber, which was of pre-Christian origin, is the basin of the spring, and on the walls are paintings of birds, animals and Christian symbols.

Mondonedo, Spain

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Leave Lugo on N VI (the road to La Coruña) and at Rábade (13km/8mi) turn right into C 641, which runs north to Villalba (22km/14mi). From there the route continues on N 634, which crosses the Puerto de la Xesta (590m/1,936ft) and then descends to Mondoñedo (alt. 200m/660ft), which can be seen picturesquely situated in the valley below.

Cathedral of La Asunción

In the center of this old episcopal town stands the Cathedral of La Asunción, which dates from the 13th Century; the towers flanking the Gothic doorway were added in the 18th century. The most notable feature of the interior, in addition to the Plateresque choir and the two organs, below which are 14th century frescoes, is the figure of Nuestra Señora la Inglesa, originally in St Paul's Cathedral in London, which was brought here by English Catholics during their persecution by Henry VIII.

Diocesan Museum

Attached to the cathedral is the Diocesan Museum (liturgical objects, pictures, sculpture, vestments, furniture).

Plaza de España

The cathedral stands on one side of the very beautiful, slightly sloping Plaza de España, which is surrounded by typical Galician houses, their projecting upper storys supported on timber columns. A stroll through the streets of the town will reveal many old noble mansions bearing coats of arms.

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