THE WALL UNDER OUR FEET
When we visit Lugo we tend to think that the main attraction in the city is the wall, but Lugo is not only a wall.
To prove it, the best thing to do is to walk up and reach the top of the wall from where one can ascertain the small size of the city. Standing on top of the wall, we will be 455 meters above sea level. Well, Lugo is located on the top of a hill.
The best thing is to go up the stairs of Plaza do Campo Castelo (5 min from the bus station) and walk to our right towards Puerta do Campo Castelo.
From there we can see that the new and old cities are divided by the wall; we can even see much of the route of the wall.
If we look at the landscape in front of us, we can see the irregular layout of the city and the diversity of the buildings. They do not follow a common line, they are from different times, tall, short, new, old, restored, abandoned... yes, all covered with the famous gray slate of northern Galicia characteristic of this area.
The 3 towers of the XII century cathedral of Santa Maria stand out above all. Interesting building of especially Galician Romanesque art, but with a mixture of different styles.
Two of these towers belong to the cathedral´s façade, being symmetrical to each other. The other one is its bell tower, in Gothic style.
Another tower that will catch our attention is the one belonging to the church of San Pedro, the only example of Mudejar art in Galicia.
Also noteworthy is the round dome of the Circle of Arts, one of the most significant buildings in the city and its only modernist edifice. A very curious fact is that it is the only building in the old city that has been strongly painted in water green color since its construction. The rest of the buildings are always painted in white or pale colors.
Finally, we will see the clock tower of the XIX century baroque building of the town hall, located in front of Plaza Mayor, along with the characteristic buildings of white stained glass that flank this square.
PRAZA DE CAMPO CASTELO (CAMPO CASTELO SQUARE)
YOU CAN’T LEAVE WITHOUT TRYING IT !!!
Every city worth its salt always has a must-see or a specific product that you cannot leave without trying, and of course Lugo will not be less. In addition to the quantity and variety of tapas offered in all bars, you cannot leave the city without trying its famous “chocolate with churros” (churro is fried-dough pastry traditional in Spain and Portugal).
A good hot chocolate in any of its varieties: thick or light, bitter or milk, white, hazelnut, with cinnamon, with cream... in short, a great variety of chocolates, that will delight the young and older ones, and will help us regain strength.
And of course, to accompany the chocolate, some rich and famous churros.
Churros are made with flour, water and salt, and this elongated dough is fried and then sprinkled with sugar. Their main characteristic is that they are longitudinal in the shape of a star.
It is said that the recipe for churros already appears in a Roman cookbook from the I century AC, hence its tradition throughout the Iberian Peninsula.
However, there is also another version that poses that the Portuguese have been the ones who brought the recipe from China (something very unlikely).
In Spain they are very traditional and are eaten especially the night of December 31 accompanied by hot chocolate. Also, they are usually eaten on Sundays for breakfast or at fairs, where they are sold in paper cones...
Since chocolate with churros is something so ours, you will have the option of trying this “breakfast worthy of gods” in most of the breakfast bars. It will also help us fight the cold during winter.
There are some places whith glazed kitchens, where you can see how they are made. Be patient though, as it is often impossible to find tables at some places.
If you don´t opt for chocolate, you can order just a coffee, and you will be served a small glass of orange juice and a piece of homemade cake, being charged only the price of the coffee.
Is anyone going to miss it? As the tourist promotional campaign of the city says "and to eat, Lugo".
RUA SAN PEDRO
PRAZA DO CAMPO CASTELO
RUA NOVARUA DA CRUZ
SOUVENIR AGAINST “MEIGAS”
We cannot leave Galicia without a Figa. And what is that?
A Figa is an old remedy against the meigas. Because in Galicia it is said that there are many of them!
Meigas is how witches are called in Galicia and neighboring areas. They do evil to people and animals by establishing a pact with the devil, through the evil eye.
According to Galician tradition there are several types of meigas, such as Vedoiras, those capable of contacting the afterlife; Feiticeiras,those in charge of the spells; Marimantas, who steal children in a sack….
Figa is an amulet used to fight against these bewitches called meigas.A figa is a hand with a clenched fist and the thumb between the index and middle fingers.
This hand was already venerated in our peninsula by the first Iberians.Figa can be made of jet or Sargadelos ceramics, prestigious ceramics from the coastal area of Lugo with a long tradition in the province since the 18th century.
Figas can either be worn around the neck to protect ourselves, or can be hung at the entrance of our house in order to protect the whole family.It is an amulet against the evil eye, jealousy, envy, witch spells and protection against diseases.
A typical Galician souvenir that becomes a must when you visit the area, because according to tradition, for the Figa to work effectively it must be received as a present, stolen or found, and be always in perfect condition.
If the Figa is broken it means it has fulfilled its function and must then be buried.Regardless of the material, it is very important that it can break, because it is precisely this fact that tells us that its protection has already been effective.
It is a lunar energy amulet and is not appropriate to show it over our clothing. It is also advisable to wear it in contact with the skin.When someone feels threatened, one needs to “close” the right fist by inserting the thumb between the index and middle fingers while exclaiming MEIGAS FORA (meigas, out)!!
And where do we find them?
We can buy them in any jewelry or souvenir shops in the city. The streets where we are most likely to find figas are:
RUA DA CRUZ
PRAZA DA CATEDRAL
PRAZA SANTO DOMINGO
All of them at 5/10 minutes walk from the bus station
The greatest attraction of Lugo is of course its wall, which dates back to the 3rd century AC.
It is more than 2 km long (1,24 miles) and divides the old town with the modern part of the city. Nowadays the wall is surrounded by a large avenue that encircles it in its entirety.
It is believed that the wall was built primarily to protect a sacred forest, called Luc, hence its name. Lucus Augusti refers to the forest of Augustus, or Sacred Forest.
Its walls are impressive, especially because of their size, between 10 and 12 meters high throughout their entire length, and 7 to 8 meters thick.The upper part can be traversed in its entire circumference through the walkway, which offers a walk with the best views of the city, accessible by stairs and a ramp by which wagons went up.
Formerly it was also surrounded by a large moat and an Intervallum, or empty space, inside (it is the part that separates the interior walls from the buildings).Today we admire its gray beauty with all the stones in sight, but there are studies indicating that it was once entirely covered by a kind of white "compound" that prevented water seepage and consequently that its stones could move.
It has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in the year 2,000.The most characteristic section is the one that is still preserved with the upper arches of the tower "a Mosquera". All of the 85 original towers that the wall once had (75 today) were topped by 2 storey towers with large arched windows.Only two windows are preserved in this cube, although it is believed that all of it was surrounded by these windows, which supposedly would serve the legionaries to defend the city by placing various types of weapons on them.
As it was built on a hill, it was also possible to have a 360-degree view of the entire surrounding territory, thus spotting the enemy in the distance.
This famous section is only 2 minutes’ walk from the bus station.
RONDA DE LA MURALLA 11
SHOULD WE MAKE A WISH?
The Puerta de San Pedro is also known as Puerta Toledana, and is one of the first gates on the wall.This is one of the primitive gates of the city, as already existed in Roman times.
It was located at the end of the road that led to Castile and was frequently crossed by Toledo merchants, hence one of its names.
This door also serves as an entrance to the city for pilgrims who walk the “Camino Primitivo de Santiago” (Santiago Primitive Trail).The gate is protected by two round towers and on one of them there is a landmark that indicates the exact distance to the Praza del Obradoiro in Santiago de Compostela, as the old primitive way to Santiago passes through here.On the outside of the door you will find the shield of the city and the royal crown flanked by two lions.
If one visits the wall from above, one will see the upper part of the shield with the crown.It is here, in this crown, where you have to toss a coin and make a wish.When the coin falls to the street, the wish will be carried away by the wind, but if on the contrary it remains lodged in the crown, your wish will be fulfilled.True or not we should try.
Of course, you have to pay special attention to pedestrians who pass under the door at that time ... because it will rain coins from heaven!To get here, one must climb to the top of the wall.From the bus station, you will walk up to Campo Castillo square where one of the stairs gives us access to it.
Walk about 3 minutes and you will be at the top of St Peter´s Gate.
PORTA DE SAN PEDRO (ST PETER´S GATE)
A WALK IN THE CLOUDS
The best view of the city is undoubtedly from the roofs of the cathedral. But this is not for those who are afraid of heights!
To try it out, you must head towards St Mary´s Cathedral (Catedral de Santa María), a 12thcentury UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is a a unique building linked to the Santiago Trail on its Northern Peninsular routes.
The cathedral was actually built in the 5th-6th centuries on top of an old Suevian temple, since at this time it was already an important religious center.Well, there is a mixture of architectural styles in the cathedral, raging from Romanesque, Gothic to Renaissance and Baroque.It is important to book in advance if you want to make part of this tour.
During this visit you will be shown the cloister, and especially the towers and roofs of the cathedral, which is actually our true objective.Access is via the stairs, which will actually remind us of St. Peter´s Basilica or the Duomo of Florence.
Of course the effort to reach the top will have its reward, as we will have a spectacular and complete view of Lugo and its Wall. An this is something we cannot find from any other point of the city.
Visits last approximately 30 minutes
General rate € 5
CATEDRAL DE LUGO
AND WHO IS THIS FAMILY?
When we leave the bus station we find a sculpture of a family we do not know who they are, as there is only an inscription that simply says “in honour to Peludez family”.
It is actually a fictional family born in 1908 from an article by Antonio de Cora, who over the years (October 5-15) reappeared occasionaly during the Lugo festivities bearing short articles written in colloquial Spanish, in which Peludez acts as an official chronicler of those holidays. In his speeches, he judges and criticizes customs and attitudes with a constructive criterion of the city and especially the political situation of the moment.
He was a countryman from the local village who came every year to the town festivities. This good man would spend eleven months of the year saving his pesetas in the village so that he would be able to attend the festivities and fairs of St Froilán in October. You must try the traditional octopus and spent the idle hours watching the festive rockets.
During his "life" Peludez marries Filomena, a character who speaks a mixture of regional Galician and castillean, trying to sound like a fine girl from the city. Later on Peludecino is born and over the years he grows up to have a girlfriend with whom he finally marries and has a descendant after years.Within over one hundred years of existance, Peludez has frequently criticized irony, as well as the political and social reality of Lugo.
This has been so even in times of dictatorship, since its humor has allowed its criticism to escape censorship.It was one of the most widely read and expected articles during the time of the St Froilán festivities.
Such was its fame that it has deserved to name after a square next to the bus station, as a symbol of the arrival and/or departure of this family.
PRAZA DA CONSTITUCION
LUGO AT A LIGHTING SPEED
Getting to know Lugo quickly is easy, especially if we do it from the top of the wall and by walking.The walk will last about 25 minutes, since Lugo is a very small city.And how to access the upper part?
There are several stairs that access to it: Mina Gate, Campo Castelo Gate... and a ramp in front of the cathedral. An elevator has also recently been added, opposite Rua do Teatro (Theatre Street), to facilitate access for people with reduced mobility.
During Roman times, the stairs did not reach the ground, but a wooden staircase had to be placed to reach the beginning of the stone staircase. This prevented enemies from accessing the upper part, which was a defense zone.We start from Campo Castelo Gate, and on our right after passing a block of buildings we find some stairs to access the wall.We quickly find ourselves in front of the MOSQUEIRA cube, where we can see the only 2 window arches that are preserved from the wall.
Continue walking and you will find St Peter´s Gate, where you can throw your wishing coin into the crown of the city´s shield.At the next door (porta da Estación or Station Gate) one will find other stairs descending to RUA DO TEATRO (Theatre Street) that will take you up to PLAZA DE SANTO DOMINGO (St Domingo Square). This square can be considered the heart of the city.Right in front of us we find the church of San Pedro in Plaza de la Soledad.From there you will begin to cross the "street of the wines", through RUA NOVA towards our left up to Praza do Campo.
This is one of the most popular areas where, in the afternoon, you can have a wine served with a tapa. It is always full of people until late in the afternoon. Also in this square (Praza do Campo) there is a fountain which, on October 5, the day of the patron saint St Froilán, emanates wine throughout the day.
On our right we find RUA DO MIÑO, a street that we will take us to RUA DA CATEDRALWe are already facing one of the sides of the cathedral, which we will skirt until we find its wonderful façade.When admiring the cathedral´s façade, behind us you will find one of the wall gates. The Santiago Gate, called so because when seen from the inside, just above the door, we can see an equestrian statue of Santiago Matamoros (St James the Crusader) excavated inside the wall.
We go around the cathedral to the Plaza de Santa María (St Mary´s Square), leaving the building of the diocese of Lugo on our left, leading directly to Plaza de Mayor with the town hall in front of us.And we are back at Campo Castelo Gate, which was the starting point of our tour.
One can do this tour in much less than an hour, since Lugo is a really small city.
FANCY A BREAK?
If we do not want the "touristy" beaten track and really want to take a break, the best thing is to go to ROSALIA DE CASTRO park, the lung of Lugo since 1925.
A large 23-hectare park (57 acres), with large green areas and an imposing fountain surrounded by a large collection of roses of all kinds.
In addition, the park has an artificial pond for aquatic birds where you can find various species of ducks and swans, with a bridge that can be accessed to admire these species more closely.But they are not the only animals that can be seen in the park. We can also access an ornithological center and a space of unique species in a beautiful palatial building.
If we continue to the end of the park, we find a balcony-shaped viewpoint and a beautiful pergola that is usually full of flowers.From there we can have the view of the river Miño, with the Roman bridge in the background, whose neighbor is the town´s spa.In this spa there are the Roman baths, one of the most representative monuments of the Roman cultural legacy, dating from the 1st century BC.
We will also see very close, the new bridge, recently built, totally different from the Roman one, as it is a white metal construction of avant-garde design.We will also admire another small tributary of the Miño River that borders the city of Lugo, the Rato River, with its newly built promenade on its right bank. An ideal place for athletes and runners, both on foot and by bicycle.
All this panorama is safeguarded by Mount Picato, one of the highest mountains that surround the city.It is a park to relax for a while, sit down, take a walk and simply watch life go by, breathing the pure and fresh air of the place, in an atmosphere that the foggy mornings (usually normal in winter) will fill us with peace and tranquility.I
t also has a large cafeteria with a terrace and a children´s playing area.In short, a place to switch off and relax.We find it at 2 minutes walking from the bus station.
PLAZA AVILES (AVILES SQUARE)
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