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Visiting Guarda

Visiting Guarda
Place: Guarda
Visiting Guarda
How about beginning your tour on Rua Infante D. Henrique in front of the Tourism Office. Cross the José Lemos garden, the former medieval Rossio, where fairs were once held. On the left, there is the imposing granite structure of the Convent of São Francisco (St. Francis), founded in the 13th century and currently the District Archive.

Continue along Rua Camilo Castelo Branco. At the end, the Tower of Ferreiros defines the entry into the old medieval walls that contain the city´s historic centre. Turn left along the road that was home to the Cathedral´s clergy and where there remain some of the original houses with their ogival entranceways.

Continuing, on Rua D. Miguel Alarcão, there is the Cathedral, Guarda´s most impressive monument. On the left, heading up the street, the Keep is all that remains of the Castle that used to protect the centre.

Returning to the Cathedral, there is the broad Praça Luís de Camões, the heart of the city since the 12th century. Here, among other aspects, there is an interesting 17th century arcade built for the Paços do Concelho (City Hall).

Leave the square down Rua Francisco de Passos, formerly Rua Direita, the main thoroughfare cutting across the area between the city walls, forming a cross with Rua de São Vicente that connects the two gates Porta d´El Rei and the Porta da Erva.

At the crossroads, there is the Church of São Vicente on the site of the former market. After dropping in on this Baroque church, continue along Rua de São Vicente, before turning into Rua do Amparo, where the medieval Jewish quarter is to be found. Squeezed up against the wall, Guarda was home to a prosperous Jewish community through to the 15th century. This neighbourhood was designated to them by king Pedro I (1357-67).

Moving along, the road joins Rua Francisco Passos and the Largo do Torreão, a pleasantly landscaped square. At the end, in the Largo do Paço do Biu, there is what is usually known as the House of D. Sancho, with its 16th century contours. Crossing the Porta da Erva, head right down Rua Dr. Lopo de Carvalho where there is the Church of Misericórdia. From here, turn left along Rua Marquês de Pombal before ending your walk with a visit to the Museum of Guarda and an opportunity to learn a little more about the city´s rich history.

Images: Courtesy of Câmara Municipal da Guarda


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