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Walled cities in Spain

Historic heritage on and off the beaten trail 

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City walls from Roman and medieval times

Roman walls of Lugo
The roman walls of Lugo, Galicia
 Photo J.M.Lage
    There is something special about a walled city; a connection with the past, that remains only in a few of the towns and cities of the modern-day world.
     Yet there was a time when all major towns and cities were surrounded by city walls or ramparts. From pre-Roman times until the Renaissance, city walls were often a vital barrier for townsfolk against attack from marauding invaders. Urban historian Lewis Mumford saw walls as the vital expression of urban unity and superiority; yet from the sixteenth century onwards, with growing wealth and populations, most towns and cities in Europe began to expand beyond their old walls, to the point at which they became redundant and in most cases - sooner or later - torn down.
    Yet in places off the beaten track, towns and cities that grew little between the 16th and 20th centuries, or places that continued to need fortifications, or that lost an importance they once had, city walls remained in place. There are walled cities all over Europe and the old world; there are even three walled cities in north America; but of the walled cities that remain to this day, some of the finest and most intact are to be found in Spain. Some are well known; others are small, off the tourist track, and pretty well unknown except to locals..   
Fully walled and almost fully walled cities
Places that have been important since Roman or medieval times.
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Fully walled  and largely walled small towns
 - mostly off the tourist trail
Some other Spanish towns and cities with interesting walls or city gates

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Photo top of page : the small city of Morella, in northern Valencia province

Regions of Spain

Ramparts of Galisteo
The small town of Galisteo, Extremadura, completely enclosed by its ramparts


Albarracin - one of Spain's many ancient walled cities

Visit our companion guides:
Walled cities in France

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