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Places to visit in old Goa

Discussion in 'Goa' started by PeteK, Oct 8, 2016.

  1. PeteK

    PeteK New Member

    I am visiting old Goa with my wife, and I would like to know from the travelers point of view which places we should visit in old Goa as I don't want to miss out on visiting anything which is important or famous.

    I hear it is a beautiful place, with some amazing old buildings, but there is no specific information to the building names.

  2. briannagodess

    briannagodess Well-Known Member

    Hi there, welcome to the forum!

    Old Goa was once the capital of the state and this is evident with the numerous Portuguese structures you can find here. After an epidemic plagued the city, it was abandoned and the capital was moved to Panjim. Today, Old Goa is one of the best places to visit in Goa to know more about its rich past. With its various churches, the bygone era is as if very easy to imagine. Thankfully, these structures are well-maintained and managed, thus their beauty has been preserved. Here are the churches located within Old Goa worth visiting:

    Places to Visit in Old Goa

    • Se Cathedral - With such a simple white facade, the Se Cathedral is the biggest church in all of Goa and also one of the biggest churches in Asia. From the outside, there are no exquisite carvings nor sculptures that would greet you. Perhaps the main attraction from the outside is the bell tower housing four bells and the golden bell of Goa. The inside though is a bit more elegant, with again a pure white motif for the walls and ceiling. But the addition of the hanging chandeliers along with the golden altar housing the statue of Saint Catherine, these are what makes the interior stand out. Built around the middle of the 15th century, it took over 60 years to complete the cathedral, which was finally opened to the public in the middle of the 16th century. You can also visit the Old Palace of the Archbishop of Goa, located just outside the Se Cathedral and serves as the connection of the latter to the next church.
    • Church of Saint Francis of Assisi - Reaching the west, you'd find the Church of Saint Francis of Assisi. Just like the previous church, it has a very simple facade, just pure white with brown sloping roofs. Originally, the church was built around the early 15th century but the present structure was built around the middle of the 16th century. As you go inside the church, the elegance of it becomes apparent, with its carved wooden platform and walls decorated with paintings from the stories of the bible. The main altar is also very classy, with a statue dedicated to Saint Francis. One interesting feature of the church is that it has crypts embedded into its floors and as you look closely, you would find that these have Latin inscriptions. Some of the crypts even have ancient Latin inscriptions that are hard to decipher. With such mystery, the Church of Saint Francis of Assisi is definitely worth visiting.
    • Chapel of Saint Catherine - Interestingly small yet packed with history, that is the Chapel of Saint Catherine. With its bricked facade, it is sometimes easy to pass by when visiting Old Goa as it's not as imposing like the other churches. But this church was the first ever church built in Goa after the defeat of Adil Shah to Alfonso de Albuquerque. There once stood a mosque here which was demolished to give way to the building of this chapel. The church has undergone several renovations although it was originally built in 1510, on the auspicious feast day of Saint Catherine, thus it was dedicated to her name. The interior of the chapel is also very simple, with just a main altar. It might not be as grand as the other churches but its rich history is reason enough for travellers to visit this church.
    • Basilica of Bom Jesus - What sets this basilica apart from the other large churches of the state is that it has a bricked facade, which is quite a contrast to the sparkling facade of the other churches. Its beauty lies on this design and of course, its simplicity. Built around the end of the 15th century, it took over 9 years before the church was completed. The interior of the basilica is very much elaborate, with marble flooring and a gilded main altar. The main altar houses an image of Bom Jesus, along with images of Saint Xavier and Saint Ignatius on the sides. On the upper floor, there's a modern gallery that you can also visit which has paintings depicting scenes from the bible. The tomb of Saint Francis Xavier is also located within the basilica premises.
    Basilica of Bom Jesus
    • Church of Saint Cajetan - Perhaps one of the most beautiful churches in Goa is the Church of Saint Cajetan. Its imposing white facade, two towers and central dome looks quite beautiful in daylight. Coupled with the garden, this church exudes peace and serenity. The church was built around the middle of the 16th century by the Italian friars. The interiors of the church are equally beautiful, with the pure white ceiling and elaborately carved pillars. On the other hand, the main altar is dedicated to the Our Lady of Divine Providence but there are also other altars dedicated to other saints such as Saint Cajetan and Saint Agnes. All these altars are decorated exquisitely with angels and other paintings.
    • Chapel of Our Lady of the Mount - Just behind the Church of Saint Cajetan, on top of a hillock, you can find the Chapel of Our Lady of the Mount. Its picturesque location, surrounded by patches of greenery, adds to the serenity of the church. It's very simple though, pure white in colour and a bit unmaintained as well. Built around the 15th century by Alfonso De Albuquerque, the church provides one with a panoramic view of the city of Old Goa along with the Mandovi River. However, the inside of the church is closed for visitors and you can only enjoy the outside views.
    • Church and Convent of Saint Monica - Built around the 16th century, the Church and Convent of Saint Monica is well-known for its Weeping Cross of Jesus Christ. It is said that many devotees have witnessed the opening of the eyes of Jesus Christ in this cross and its crying of blood. Thus, this miraculous event has throngs of devotees flocking to the church. Beside the church is a convent which houses the Mater Dei Institute for Nuns. With such a simple design, the church is worth visiting to feel the presence of such miracles witnessed by its devotees.
    • Saint Peter Church - A bit further away from the centre of Old Goa, you can find the Saint Peter Church. It's small, almost appearing like a chapel. Its facade is a simple creamy white without any imposing design. The interior is also simple, with some inscriptions on the floor and the main altar houses an image of Saint Peter. Not as remarkable as the other churches, but still has that Old Goan charm to it, the Saint Peter Church is as serene as the remote beaches of Goa.
    Saint Peter Church
    • Church of Our Lady of the Rosary - Largely Portuguese in architectural style, that is the main trademark of the Church of Our Lady of the Rosary. It is seemingly simple, with just a sandy white exterior and has three storeys. The interior is also very simple with just a main altar for Our Lady of the Rosary. Also located within the church are the tombs of Garcia De Sa and his wife, Catarina A Piro.
    • Church of Saint Augustine - What remains of the Church of Saint Augustine today is only its bell tower, all other structures were destroyed already. Built around the 16th century, the church was one of the biggest churches in the region, even having four storeys. Even the bell in its tower has been moved to the Church of the Immaculate Conception. An interesting trivia about this church is that the ASI has unearthed a 400-year old relic in its ruins. This relic is believed to be from the remains of Queen Ketevan of Georgia, brought by the Augustinian monks to Goa during the same century.
    • Archaeological Museum and Portrait Gallery - Located at the Convent of the Saint Francis of Assisi Church, the Archaeological Museum and Portrait Gallery houses some of the most important artefacts of the region. It showcases items associated with the colonial period in Goa. Here you can find coins, paintings, statues, sculptures, stamps and even excavated items around the region. The portrait gallery section houses photographs and paintings of important Portuguese viceroys who lived in Goa.
    • Pilar Seminary Museum - Although relatively smaller than the previous museum, the Pilar Seminary Museum has rich collections which can take you back to the bygone era. The combination of different collections from Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity and other religions is quite extensive. From religious sculptures, to coins, to paintings and to manuscripts, the rich history of the region is outlined through this museum.
    I hope this helps you.:)