Juliobriga was the most important urban centre in Roman Cantabria, as stated by numerous Latin authors including Pliny the Elder. The site has traditionally been identified with ruins in the village of Retortillo in the municipality of Campoo de Enmedio.
Its founding, during the Cantabrian Wars (29 BC-19 BC), made it a powerful symbol of Roman domination of the tribes of the Cantabri. The city was named after the reigning emperor Augustus and his adopted family name, the gens Julia, with the Celtic toponym element -briga, common in Iberia. Due to its strategic location in the Besaya valley, it was able to control trade between the Douro river and the Bay of Biscay. Juliobriga grew slowly, reaching its peak between the end of the 1st century and the early 2nd century AD. Following that, its population began to decline, until the city was completely abandoned in the 3rd century.
The ruins of Retortillo were first identified with Julióbriga in the second half of the 18th century by Enrique Florez. Numerous historians and archaeologists have worked on the site since, including some of Spain's foremost.References:
Roman Walls of Lugo are an exceptional architectural, archaeological and constructive legacy of Roman engineering, dating from the 3rd and 4th centuries AD. The Walls are built of internal and external stone facings of slate with some granite, with a core filling of a conglomerate of slate slabs and worked stone pieces from Roman buildings, interlocked with lime mortar.
Their total length of 2117 m in the shape of an oblong rectangle occupies an area of 1.68 ha. Their height varies between 8 and 10 m, with a width of 4.2 m, reaching 7 m in some specific points. The walls still contain 85 external towers, 10 gates (five of which are original and five that were opened in modern times), four staircases and two ramps providing access to the walkway along the top of the walls, one of which is internal and the other external. Each tower contained access stairs leading from the intervallum to the wall walk of town wall, of which a total of 21 have been discovered to date.
The defences of Lugo are the most complete and best preserved example of Roman military architecture in the Western Roman Empire.
Despite the renovation work carried out, the walls conserve their original layout and the construction features associated with their defensive purpose, with walls, battlements, towers, fortifications, both modern and original gates and stairways, and a moat.
Since they were built, the walls have defined the layout and growth of the city, which was declared a Historical-Artistic Ensemble in 1973, forming a part of it and becoming an emblematic structure that can be freely accessed to walk along. The local inhabitants and visitors alike have used them as an area for enjoyment and as a part of urban life for centuries.
The fortifications were added to UNESCO"s World Heritage List in late 2000 and are a popular tourist attraction.