Europe, Galicia, Spain

Semana Santa: Lugo

March 30-31, 2021

With Spain being a very Catholic country, we have an entire week off for Easter, referred to as Semana Santa (Holy Week). After spending the weekend catching up on homework, Monday arrived and I still had no idea where I wanted to go. I was torn between Ourense and Lugo. With Lugo being farther away and wanting to hear the famous As Catedrais in the far north of Galicia in Ribadeo, I decided using my long time off from school for this venture was a good idea. I booked a ticket for the next morning, took care of some things around the house, packed my bags, and was ready to go. I booked a hotel on the road, and when I arrived, I dropped off my bags and was ready to explore the city.

Lugo

Lugo is in mainland Galicia and has a population just under 100,000, which makes it the fourth largest Galician city. Its claim to fame is that it is the only city in the world surrounded by completely in-tact Roman walls. They are 10-15 meters tall, spans over 2000 meters, with 71 towers and 10 gates. Some of the towers and gates have been lost over the time, but the rest is extremely well-preserved. I was eager to walk this path that’s been a core part of the city since the 3rd century. During this time, it marked the permiter of the old city, so everything inside of it is older architecture and contains many of the sites like the cathedral and archaelogical remains.

Lugo Cathedral

After walking around a bit in the historical center and busy town squares, I walked over to the Lugo Cathedral, a 12th century cathedral in the Romanesque style, with Gothic, Baroque and Neoclassicist components.

Centro de Interpretación

My next stop was the Centro de Interpretación da Muralla de Lugo. This is a small museum that covers the history of the wall and has some archaelogical remains. I figured it was a good stop to better understand the history of the wall before embarking on the walk.

Praza Maior

After the museum, it was time to stop for lunch in one of the busy town squares. Of course, it was a very typical Spanish tapa, huevos con patatas and a tinto de verano (my favoriet).

Roman Walls of Lugo

From here, it was time to experience the main reason I had come to this city: to walk atop the only intact Roman walls in the city.

This was one of the more surreal travel experiences that I’ve had. Anything that’s the “only one in the world” is always cool, and I’m continually amazed by the age of things in Europe. Having grown up in the US, where most remains of ancient settlements have not been preserved and are not discussed, the only things we experience are a few hundred years old in Boston and Philadelphia for example. Seeing things from the first centuries (and at other times, BCE) is mind-boggling.

After this, I walked around the old city a little more. I saw some of the markers for El Camino de Santiago, which crosses through Lugo when taking the French route. Of course this reminds me of Pontevedra as we have many of them being so close to Santiago. Feeling pretty tired from my first day traveling, I headed back to my hotel for the night around 8 PM (very early for Spanish way of life).

Having seen the main attraction I wanted to see in Lugo, I planned to head north to Ribadeo later that day. The transportation between provinces is always difficult and convulated at times. I found the one bus that would work for the day, which was at 3:30 PM. Because there was not way to piece together transport to get back easily, I planned to spend the night there. After checking out of my hotel, I made my way over to the museum I had received a recommendation for.

Museo Provincial de Lugo

This museum has an amazing set of tiles from the 3rd century, a floor dedicated to Prehistory and Archaeology from the Palaeolithic to the end of Romanisation, and a Galician art gallery.

As I walked towards the bus station, I went near the cathedral again to see some archaelogical remains from the foundation of the city that you are able to look at in their original place. From here, it was time to make the trek up to Ribadeo!

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