The main portal of the Se, by which you enter the western end of the cathedral for direct access to its long nave, is a beautiful example of Manuline architecture. This style arose during the reign of Manuel I (1495-1521), a time of great discoveries and world-wide exploration by Portugal.
The style is marked by rounded arches instead of pointed ones and also features pillars and other decorations done in a 'twisted rope' motif to reflect the national pride in their maritime exploits. We saw a number of examples of this type of architecture, a derivative of the Late Gothic style, in our travels around the country. It is a style that really appealed to me!
Guarda - Portugal's Highest City
Guarda's main claim to fame is the fact that, at 1060-m (3500-ft), it is the highest city in Portugal. Located in the northeast corner of the country amid the Serra da Estrela mountains, this is a very old city, founded in 1197 by King Sancho I.
Unfortunately, our available time in the city was cut short by the circumstances of our road tour around Portugal. We arrived late, at about 8 PM, on a Friday night after a long but interesting day's drive to the north from Castelo Branco. However, by the time we managed to find our pre-booked accommodation and then a restaurant, that was it for us that evening!
The next morning, after a quick breakfast in a local cafe and a brief tour of the cathedral area, we were on our way once more, heading further north in the sunshine on Day 6 of our road tour.
This photo was taken not far from where we spent the night. The Praca Velha square offers a great view of two of the city's famous attractions - a statue of its founding father and of its huge granite cathedral. Please see my General tip for a map of Guarda's location.