Famous Churches

Churches_Goa.jpgThe old Goa gained height of fame during the Portuguese rein. Old Goa grew in size and splendour in the 16th century. Old Goa was the capital of the Adil Shahis. During their time also this place was alive and prosperous. Today the not much remains of the past. The remnants of the fort and other structure give a faint idea what this place must have been. The Churches, monasteries, convents and temples remind who of the administrative capital of the Portuguese who nearly lost the Place to the British and the Dutch.

Basilica of Bom Jesus - Basilica of Bom Jesus has the tomb and remains of St. Francis Xavier. He came to Goa in 1541 with a task to preach Christianity. After his death on the coast of China, he was brought to India but his body did not decompose. Even the inner organs were intact. This is indeed a miracle particularly when no embalming of the body had been done. The body is kept in a silver casket which is open to public once in ten years. Altars of the Basilica is richly gilded but rest of interior is very simple. The walls covering surrounding the casket depicts the life and journey of St. Francis Xavier. A modern art gallery is attached with the Basilica.

St. Cathedral - This church was built for the Dominicans from the funds released by Royal treasury by sale of crown property. This is one of the largest church in Goa. The building style is Portuguese-Gothic with a Tuscan exterior and Corinthian interior. Initially there were two tower one of which collapsed in 1776. The other one boasts of having the 'Golden Bell' of Goa which is the largest bell in Goa. The sound of the bell has given the name golden bell. The main altar is dedicated to St. Catherine and walls are painted with the scenes from the life of Catherine.

Church of Saint Francis of Assisi - The building was built in 1661 on a place where the Franciscans built a small chapel which was pulled down. This church is perhaps the most interesting building in Old Goa, It contains the gilded and carved wood work, old murals depicting scenes from the life of St. Francis, and a floor substantially made of carved gravestones. Some of the family coat of arms are also kept here. The convent at back of the Church has been converted into an Archaeological museum. This museum has a rich collection of Portraits of Portuguese viceroys, fragments of sculpture from Hindu sites, Vetal images from the animist cult which flourished in this part of India.

Saint Cajetan Church - This church was build by the Theatines who were sent by Pope Urban III to preach Christianity in Golconda. But they were not allowed in Golconda so they settled in old Goa . Here they build a church on the model of St. Peter's in Rome.

Church of Our Lady Rosary - One of the oldest Churches in Goa, it has some inscription of the re-conquest of Goa in 1510.

Nunnery of Saint Monica - Once known as the Royal monastery, this three storied was built in 1627 and was burnt down nine years later. After being reconstructed it has withstood the test of time. At present the building is being used by Mater Dei institute as a nunnery and visitors are only allowed if properly dressed. The Western side walls have few fading murals.

Saint Augustine Tower - This initially was a church built by the Augustine Friars but was abandoned in the 19 th century due to repressive policies of Portuguese. Today only the Belltower remains intact. Some more remnants are covered by weeds and creepers which have made the access to these place impossible.

Reis Magos Church, Verem, Bardez - Adjoining a fort this church was used as a residence for the dignitaries. It is dedicated to three Magi kings- Gasper, Melchior and Balthazar.

The Church of Mae de Deus, Saligao, Bardez - Set in the picturesque surroundings, this church is a fine example of Gothic art. The church has the statue of Mother of God which was brought from the convent at old Goa.

Church of Saint Alex, Curtorium, Salcete - One of the oldest churches in Goa.

Church of Saint Ana, Talaulim, Tiswadi - This is a unique church in Goa which had passages in hollow walls through which a person could go in for confessions in secrecy. It was built in 1695.

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