History of the City of Guarda

The origins of the city of Guarda date back a long time in history. The original traces that are still visible take us back to the Neolithic Period: one of the best examples being the Anta de Pêra do Moço or the stone axes which can be seen in the city museum. The Tintinolho and Jarmelo fortresses or the traces of a Roman Road, are other important historical remnants of the Bronze Age and the Roman Period.

At a later date, in 1199, D. Sancho I, the second king of Portugal, founded the city of Guarda by royal decree in order to encourage a fixed local population and at the same time provide security for the eastern frontier of Portugal from possible Spanish invasion.
The city of Guarda, which in 1999 commemorated eight centuries since its founding, was the stage of important military events that took place in Portuguese history, namely in times when Portugal had to fight for its independence. It was also the place chosen by several kings of the first and second dynasties to authorize treaties, establish diplomatic agreements and summon the Court.
Guarda is associated with military defense and religious traditions. This legacy is evident in its patrimony: the Torre de Menagem, dating from the twelfth century; the ruins of medieval walls; the Cathedral, built between the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries; the Convent of  Saint Francis; the baroque churches of Misericórdia and Saint Vicent and the old Bishop’s Palace. From the romantic period, we have the Chapel of Mileu, a place dedicated to the cult of the Virgin Mary.

GUARDA – Landscape and patrimony
Guarda is located in the interior of Portugal, in the Serra da Estrela region, and is known as being the highest city in the country (1,056 metres).
Its natural resources make Guarda a mountain city with wild landscapes that offer magnificent scenery.
Guarda is known as the city of 5 F’s: Fria (cold) – due to the mountainous weather; Forte (strong), because it defended the country from possible invasions; Farta (plentiful), fortunately the fertile Mondego valley responded to the needs of the population; Fiel (loyal), due to the courage and determination in not surrendering to the King of Castille; and Formosa (beautiful), for its natural beauty.


With impressive landscapes of the high mountains and the medieval myths of its castles, villages and Jewish quarters, the region of Guarda is part of the Serra da Estrela Natural Park, of the Serras da Gardunha and Açor, of the rich plains of Cova da Beira, of the Serra da Malcata Natural Reserve and the Côa Valley where a very important set of Paleolithic rock engravings can be found. UNESCO classified this valley as Patrimony of Humanity.
In the highest point of the Serra da Estrela, at an altitude of 2,000 metres, there is a Tower, covered with snow from December to May, surrounded by mountain holiday resorts in the Penhas da Saúde and Penhas Douradas, by the grandiosity of the Long Lake, the Viriato Lake and the monumental cliffs of the Cântaros.


Population: 42,541 inhabitants (2011 census)
City of Guarda Day (celebrated as a local holiday every year on the 27th November).

From the top of the mountain we can look down on an impressive sight: the Romans called it Civitatem Sennam. This mountain city of Latin origin was founded about 2,400 years ago.

Activities related with pasture and cheese productions have been developed over many generations. The people who used to live there, called Lusitanians, who were shepherds and warriors and known by the Greek and Latin writers for their bravery and resistance to Roman domination. As proof of those times the Saint Romão fortress still exists.


After several years of Arabian domination, in 1055 D. Fernando Magno definitively conquered it . In 1136, D. Afonso Henriques gave Seia its first Royal decree, followed by others conferred by D. Afonso II (1217), D. Duarte (1433), D. Afonso V (1479) and D. Manuel (1510). In the centre of the city, we can still see traces of a medieval castle as well as other monuments of public interest, such as the Casa das Obras (18th century), Saint Peter’s Chapel (13th century) and the Solar dos Botelhos.
Population: 24,541 inhabitants

City of Seia Day (celebrated as a local holiday every year on the 3rd of July).

Centro de Informática | Instituto Politécnico da Guarda | Av. Dr. Francisco Sá Carneiro Nº50 | 6301-559 Guarda | | email: