In 1199, by request of King Sancho I to the Pope Inocêncio III, the old Egitânia diocese was transferred to the new city of Guarda, and a Cathedral began to be built there. Nothing remains of that primitive Romanesque building, probably located near the Torre do Mirante (Belvedere Tower). King Sancho II had a second Cathedral built during the transition period to the Gothic, but nothing remains of that temple either.
In 1374, King Fernando ordered the demolition of the old Cathedral, because it was located outside the city walls and thus exposed to the Castilian threats, and ordered the construction of the present one. The building of the new Cathedral only started in 1390, already in the reign of King John I. Nevertheless, the work was only concluded during King John III's reign, due to the continuous persistence of the bishop Dom Pedro Vaz Gavião.
South vertical projection with the partial view of the flying buttresses Partial view of the north lateral portal, on the transept arm
The Guarda Cathedral, with three naves, prominent transept and tripartite chancel, contains several remarkable elements without parallel in our country. On the main façade, for instance, two octagonal massive towers, with a keel-shaped inferior part, flank the Manueline portal. Inside the Cathedral, an unlevelled floor from the main portal to the main-chapel forced the use of an irregular space between the bays of the nave. This fact clearly shows the architectural project quality. The remarkable Mannerist sculptural retable, a work by João de Ruão showing a celestial space hierarchy is still preserved in the main-chapel.
The main works took place during the Gothic period of Batalha: the initial project is probably due to an architect of the Hughet's school. The Manueline portals show the importance King Manuel gave to major aspects of several works: the decorative richness of the micro-architectures, for instance, contrasts with the remarkable massiveness of the vertical projection. Finally, dating back to the finishing period of works, it's worth pointing out the Capela dos Pina (Pina's Chapel), also the pantheon of João de Pina, the Cathedral treasurer here buried in a lying tomb with a sculpture lying on.