Guarda (whose name refers to its ‘guarding role’) is the highest town in Portugal
at over 1000 metres above sea level. Near Belmonte it is close to the Spanish border
in a region dotted with fortifications and hilltop villages. Its 12th century defending
walls built by Sancho I can still be seen.
One house belonged to a Jewish shoemaker Barbadão (literally ‘heavily bearded’).
Folklore claims this was a nickname from his decision never to shave again as
his daughter Inês bore Sancho an illegitimate son, Alfonso, who became the Duque
de Bragança whose descendents ruled Portugal.
The ancient Jewish district, the Judiaria, has a plaque affirming friendship between
Portugal and Israel.