One of Spain’s Special Walled Cities (Blog #12)

One of Spain’s Special Walled Cities

There are a number of walled cities still remaining in Spain, and I’ve been most fortunate to visit several of them. Avila is the most impressive. Toledo is another great one. So is Lugo.

Lugo may be the oldest walled city in Spain. The Romans fought the Cantabrian War from 25-13 B.C. They established a military camp between two major rivers in a strategic location. After the war ended, they founded the city of Lugo in this former military encampment.

The region around Lugo was famous for gold. The Romans were smart. They mined the gold and established a walled city with 85 towers to protect this region from attack. Inside the walled city, streets were perfectly laid out in modern, squared sections.

Today, there are several ancient Roman houses that can be visited along with an archeology museum and a great cathedral. The Feast of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary occurs on August 15 and is celebrated all across Spain. This took place on my second day in Lugo. I chose to stay two nights here in order to rest my feet and explore Galicia’s fourth largest city.

I had no idea how ancient it was. The cathedral was special. The Dean allowed me to concelebrate the Mass. I attended the Mass two evenings in a role. Miguel, a Franciscan priest in charge of O Cebreiro – one of the most special places along the Camino Frances and a former site of an ancient Celtic community – was the guest preacher. Taking part in the liturgy in this ancient cathedral was like entering history itself.

I toured the Center for Culture, which was created in the old prison in Lugo. It was the first prison in all of Spain to have private rooms for inmates. Unfortunately, the demand outpaced the supply, and soon 10-12 men were housed in each cell.

Lugo now has an art and a history exhibition in the former prison. The history exhibition had letters and cards written by men and women who were killed during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939). They included heart-wrenching messages sent from those who were lingering in prison and destined to die.

The folks in Lugo seemed a bit uptight. I preferred a more relaxed Spain. I worry that this calmer Spain may be vanishing. There’s something about technology and social networks that has all of us running around like chickens with our heads cut off.

This is why I walk the Camino – to get away from the rush of life, savor the simple, present moment. God is not found in social networks, technology, multitasking or rushing frantically about. God is found in the still small voice when we disconnect, are still and listen long enough to be blessed.

With love and prayers from Spain,


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