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Guardia
May 22, 2008
Pete's Pics > Guardia
 
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By chance, the day we visited Guarda turned out to be a local Festival and everything was closed. Hooray! Parking was good, cars were scarce and we had the place to ourselves


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A few people had come to town - I sure hope this driver has an effective parking brake


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The outside looking in. This is the western gate in a surviving section of the city wall


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Looking back out of the same gate


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At the top of the town is the somewhat forbidding, fortified cathedral. The city name, Guarda suggests its purpose - a fortress against invasion form Spain. At nearly 3,500 feet, Guarda is the highest city in Portugal


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The north side of the drab cathedral exterior


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Detail of one of the octagonal portico towers


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D Sanchoi, the second King of Portugal, was the guy who got Guarda going in the 12th century and now has pride of place outside the cathedral apse


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The cathedral is a basilica layout. This is the southern side aisle, somewhat more imposing than the exterior suggests


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The nave is also light and airy, in part due to the flying buttress construction


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The high altar and the entire apse are also surprisingly spacious


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The square, or open area, around the cathedral is much larger than expected since its dimension were fixed as early as the 16th century by the facing mansions and palaces


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A municipal courtyard close to the cathedral, again pleasingly free of motor vehicles due to the holiday


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Sao Vincennes, one of several Guarda area parishes within the city walls


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Another bright and upbeat interior although the copious use of blue ceramic tile did chill it off a little


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At one time, there was a strong Jewish presence in town and Portugal had close relations with Israel. This is about what remains of the Jewish quarter today


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Another surviving gate in the northwest area of town liberally sprinkled with litter


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This must have been the "in" look for Portugal's Igeja da Misericordia - churches of Mercy - for this two tower rococo style is just like that in Viseau. This parish is also within the city walls


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Another view of the Church of Mercy


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Another comfortable interior even if a little ostentatious


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Inevitably, the ceramic tile panels were present in full force although this one was embellished with a second color


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A more austere example was on the opposite wall


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Toward the south end of town this chapel has survived


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Close by the cathedral, we had trouble resisting this rustic little "fixer-upper"


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Glimpsed between the rundown residence and the west wall of the cathedral was this windmill a mile or so out of town


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This ancient stone staircase was extremely deep and irregular. Centuries of rainwater runoff has done quite a number at the edges of the steps
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