La GuardiaLa Guardia (Toledo)GPS: 39.78559875488281, -3.4770700931549072
This town, 55 km from Toledo, sits upon a hill from which you can spot the A-4 highway joining Madrid and Cádiz. This strategic enclave, which allows “vigilance” over the passage to Andalusia, is what gives the town its name, from the Arabic “wardja”, which means sentinel or lookout. If we come for a visit, there are three un-missable sites that will give us an idea of its rich heritage: the palace-house of los Jaenes, very close to the Main Square, which preserves its granary where the Municipal Archives are found; the church of Our Lady of the Assumption; and close to the castle ruins, the hermitage of the Holy Child.
WHAT WE’LL SEE
The palace preserves a lovely Baroque entry door and was declared an Asset of Cultural Interest in 1991. Without a doubt, it is the building most characteristic of the civil architecture here. Currently, it is the Ethnological Museum of the town. Also visible from a distance, we come to the church, whose construction began at the beginning of the 17th century and finished in 1765. The artistic heritage that is preserved here holds great riches, such as various pieces of precious metalwork, a Baroque organ, and an ovoli baptismal font. But if we have to focus on one thing, it is the pictorial offering. In the interior there is no decoration other than its impressive 18th century Baroque altarpiece at the main altar. It has paintings of the Assumption of the Virgin and the Holy Trinity, by Manuel de Mora. In the Chaplains’ Chapel, by Juan Bautista Monegro in the 17th century, there are frescos and paintings dedicated to the exaltation of the Immaculate Conception. And in the rest of the church we have other paintings by Pedro Orrente, such as “The Wedding at Cana” and “The Feeding of the Multitude”.
To finish this tour of La Guardia, we can visit, in what was the old Jewish quarter, the hermitage of the Holy Child, built upon the ruins of a synagogue. Tradition tells us that the prison of the “Child of la Guardia” was here.
Inquire at the Office of Tourism at the City Hall for the visiting hours.
In one of its hillsides, descending towards the A-4, you can still find the remains of ancient cave-houses excavated into the rock and in which, until recently, the most humble families lived.