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"Ancient Guarda" Top 5 Page for this destination Portugal Things to Do Tip by Bwana_Brown

Portugal Things to Do: 760 reviews and 1,215 photos

  Dom Sancho I & the 'Se'
by Bwana_Brown

We spent our 5th night on the road in 'Guarda', Portugal's highest city at 1060-m (3500-ft). This is a very old city, founded in 1197 by King Sancho I, the second king of Portugal, shown perched here on his pedestal. The country was born from a rebellion against Moorish rule by the small province of 'Portucale', located not far from here and it was Sancho's father, Afonso Henriques who declared himself as the first King in 1137.

As the name Guarda suggests, this city was also involved in the defense of Portugal's frontiers. Even it's granite-walled cathedral (Se) has a fortified look to it rather than the elegant grace of most cathedrals. This structure took 150 years to build (1390-1540) and has some interesting features such as flying buttresses, gargoyles and a Manueline-style door!

Our time in Guarda was short, because of the diversion we had made to the Serra da Estrela the day before.

Directions: About half-way between Castelo Branco and Vila Real, but towards the Spanish border.

Review Helpfulness: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Dec 4, 2004
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