Any one of the wall's ten gates gives access to an urban network of quiet pedestrian streets flanked by sober granite buildings. Some of the most emblematic are the Carmen gate, traditionally used by the pilgrims who were heading for Santiago de Compostela; the Nova gate, San Pedro gate or the Santiago gate, built in the 18th century and which provides direct access to the Cathedral of Lugo.
The squares of Santo Domingo and España are two chief points in the centre. In the latter stands the magnificent baroque façade of the CIty Hall, which dates from 1740, and the adjoining clock tower, from the 19th century, although the original building was erected by Pedro de Artigas in the 16th century. Next to the City Hall, sharing the limelight in this landscaped square are the most elegant cafés in the city, as well as sumptuous buildings such as the modernist Arts Circle.
Another monumental construction in the historic quarter of Lugo is the Cathedral, a Romanesque-Gothic temple which began to be built in the 12thcentury and whose work went on for more than a century, with subsequent additions of great beauty such as the Neoclassic façade, known as the the Santiago gate. The structure maintains original Romanesque traces in the central transept and most of the main nave, as well as in the wings. Elements such as the ambulatory, the main chapel and the north portico belong to the Gothic style, while the sacristy, the cloister or the chapel of the Virgen de los Ojos Grandes are baroque. Prominent inside is the rich choir carved in walnut, from the 17th century, as well as the reredos dedicated to the patron of the city, considered one of the crowning works of the Galician baroque style.
In the same square as the Cathedral premises, another renowned building completes this eclectic architectural collection, the Episcopal Palace. This baroque building dates from the 18th century and stands on the site of the old tower of the Counts of Lemos.
A number of busy shopping streets are spread around the arcaded praza do Campo, which in former times was the Roman forum and a medieval market. Very close by is the church of San Pedro, a beautiful example of medieval architecture which belonged to what was the convent of San Francisco, today occupied by the facilities of theRegional Museum, one of the most important in the province of Lugo.On the ground floor there are still some areas surviving from the former convent building, such as the Gothic cloister from the 15th century, the refectory and the kitchen, both from the 18th century. The museum's valuable collection contains an extensive exhibition of archaeological pieces, outstanding among which is a collection of pre-Roman precious metalwork, industrial crafts and sculpture. It also houses an art gallery which gathers works from the 15th century until the present day, with a special section devoted to Galician painters.
The narrow cobbled lanes ofcalle de la
Cruz, Rúa Nova and adjacent streets form a genuine tapas
route with stops in the many traditional bars and taverns which
invite you in to enjoy the generous appetizers which accompany
each drink. But this is only the start. “And to eat, Lugo”.
So reads the famous motto of the city, whose historic quarter
also houses some of the capital's best restaurants. In them, you
can sample the best of Lugo's gastronomy: red meats, lacón
con grelos (pork with a typical local vegetable), tetilla cheeses
and a wide variety of fresh fish and seafood. Any of these specialities
can be accompanied by the excellent wines which are produced in
the south of the province, protected by the Ribeira Sacra Designation
of Origin standard. Outside the walls, the city spreads out in
a radius from the wall ringroad, which circles the old town. It
is the starting point of important roads such as the shopping-friendly
avenue of A Coruñaand there are spacious green areas such
as Rosalía de Castro park which, with its lake and woods,
is an ideal place to stroll and rest. The park has a varied number
of tree species, as well as a sculpture of the Galician writer.
From the park's viewing point you get a panoramic take on the
Miño valley, where the Lugo spais located, famous for its
thermal waters. Declared a Site of Cultural Interest, the thermal
springs were first used by the Romans, who discovered several
therapeutic properties in the waters.