Guarda - FURTHER INFORMATION
Guarda - Guarda visitor guide showing a virtual tour of 'Guarda' linked to an interactive map with local and travel information. 360° panoramas from Beira Interior.
Guarda city is north-east of Serra da Estrela National Park and the Torre mountain, the highest in all mainland Portugal. As the largest city in the Beira region and close to the border with Spain, Guarda appropriately bears the name, guard-town.
Founded in 1197 AD by royal charter granted by King Sancho the First as a fortified outpost against Moorish invaders, Guarda has played an important part in Portuguese history. However, there is archaeological evidence to suggest that this location was used as an outpost by Julius Caesar, the Roman Emperor, over 1100 years earlier. The Peninsular Wars around 1800 AD again saw Guarda arise in defense, this time under the command of the Duke of Wellington in command against the French.
Guarda has a long and colourful history and as you would expect, it is rich military fortifications but unusually, the rest of the town is rather austere and simple which is in contrast to the elaborate Gothic and medieval architecture which typified towns built in this era. Only the Cathedral built between 1390–1540 contrasts with the austere granite houses of the city. Built in Gothic style with Manueline styling nuances, the interior is notable for twisted pillars and a highly ornate white marble high-alter with embossed figures. Other landmarks include the Blacksmith's Tower and the Mileu Chapel, both from the 11th-12th century era.