In the early 10th century, probably in 908, King Sancho Abarca of Navarre built a castle in the highland area of the region which is now known as the Rioja Alavesa. This was the birth of Laguardia, with a mainly military function, responding to the warrior tenor of its founder. In the early 13th century, King Sancho VII fortified the castle and the entire city, turning it into an impenetrable stronghold.
There is little left of the original castle and the walls of the city, mostly destroyed during the Carlist wars. Some sections of the wall can still be seen and of the ancient castle, the abbey tower still stands. Alongside the narrow streets which are of a typical medieval design, we highlight the two churches within the city, the Santa María de los reyes and the San Juan Bautista. Both of which are of Romanesque and Gothic styles, San Juan Church includes one of the best preserved Gothic porticoes on the entire mainland, built in the 14th century and with polychromy dated to the 17th century.