The town centre, being the commercial centre and geographical centre of the Rioja Alavesa, is the first thing to see in Laguardia since still today it retains all the charm of the medieval and modern city. The walls (13th century), perhaps the most defining feature of Laguardia, are made up of huge stone blocks two metres thick and are crowned by battlements that announce the arrival of faraway people. In the distance and in the sunlight, the walls acquire a golden hue that is hard to ignore. The five original gates of the town are still standing: Mercadal, Carnicerías, Páganos, San Juan and Santa Engracia. Entering through the door of the Carnicerías(15th century), we read on a tile: “Peace to those who arrive, Health to those who live, Happiness to those who leave.”
Following the wall from the outside, you can walk around the town along the paths of El Collado, Los Sietes and Plaza Nueva.
Within the walls, the Church of Santa María de los Reyes is the main cultural attraction. Its construction started in the Romanesque period and was finished during the sixteenth century with the completion of its Renaissance façade. It conceals a fourteenth-century Gothic portico inside, with polychrome decor from the seventeenth century. No visitor should overlook its great colour and beauty, as well as the expressiveness of its features and the delicacy of its ornamental details. It depicts the Virgin Mary with the Child surrounded by images from the New Testament and, on the sides, the twelve apostles. One the side of the church is the Abacial Tower, where the abbot was believed to live. Now, it is the remains of the defensive system of the walls built between the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, which has lost part of its finish as a result of various modifications. To the north was the castle that Sancho Abarca founded and which gave rise to Laguardia.
Inside the Church of San Juan Bautista we can admire several altarpieces, with the main altar from the 17th century standing out. Construction began in a Romanesque style but was finished in a Gothic one.
The Plaza Mayor is configured as a porticoed structure in which we find the Old Town Hall, which has renaissance features and the imperial coat of arms of Charles V on its façade. There is also the New Town Hall, which displays on its front the town’s coat of arms and has a clock with three automated figurines that occasionally dance to mark the hours. At the base, a metal plate gives us information on the schedule of functions.As with several towns in the surrounding area, in Laguardia you can see numerous stately civil constructions, houses and palaces richly decorated with large stone coats of arms of ancient family lineages. Among them, the Casa de la Primicia is the most notable, being that is perhaps the oldest civil building in the town, dating from the late fourteenth or early fifteenth century. It owes its fame, in part, to the fact that it was here that the tithes paid to the church were kept and, in addition, it is one of the houses carved out by cellar caves. These caves can be traced from the surface through the vents, usually metal, that some buildings have at the bottom of their facades.