The highest city in Portugal, Guarda lies on the nortwestern slope of Serra da Estrela, at a height of 1,056 metres. Exalted by poets and artists, Guarda is known by the Portuguese as the city of the five Fs, the first letter in the Portuguese words for PLENTIFUL, STRONG, COLD, LOYAL AND BEAUTIFUL, attributes the city is still proud to possess.
Guarda is PLENTIFUL, as the fertile Mondego valleys have always provided for its dwellers; STRONG, since its ancient walls have turned it into a stronghold, as did the Main Tower and the Ferreiros Tower; COLD, owing to the cold climate of the mountain; LOYAL, because Mayor Álvaro Gil Cabral refused to hand over its keys to the King of Castile during the 1383-85 crisis; and, last but not least, BEAUTIFUL, as it is surrounded by stunning landscapes.
Early traces of human presence in the Beira Interior region can still be found in its escarpments, including the remains of ancient settlements on mountain tops, surrounded by walls, dating back to the 5th century B.C.
According to historical sources, King Sancho I, the second King of Portugal, known as the Settler King, granted a Charter to Guarda in November 1199. King Sancho I also transferred the former Visigothic parish of Egitânia to Guarda, with the approval of Pope Innocent III.