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Churches And Convents Of Goa

A visit to Goa rejoices and pumps new energy from your hectic schedule. The amazing beaches, water sports, adventure activities, cuisine are considered as limelight of Goa. However, that’s not everything; grandeur of Goa is the architectural symphony that can be found on various convents and churches. The beauty of Goa is doubled by presence of numerous ancient master pieces displayed on churches.

Convents and churches in Goa have a great influence of Portuguese culture. Their architecture is a combination of Baroque and Renaissance styles. The Churches in Goa has a great historical significance and are visited by millions of tourists from worldwide every year. Materials used for construction of these churches are mainly lime plaster and laterite.

Some most popular churches in old Goa region are Basilica of Bom Jesus, Se' Cathedral Church, Chapel of St. Catherine, Church of St Augustine, Church of Lady of Rosary and Convent of St. Francis of Assisi. These form main attraction and apart from these, there are numerous other buildings which form part of belief of people.

Majority of paintings of these Churches are carried out on wooden borders. These are placed similar to floral designs which are used for decorating tomb and chapel of St. Xavier. The arches are similar to one present in altars of Church of St. Francis of Assisi and Se` Cathedral. Baring a few statues which are in stone, rest all are made of wood and have excellent carvings on them. There are also some marvelous paintings of Jesus, Mother Mary and Saints which are used for adorning the altars.

The Basilica of Bom Jesus

The literary meaning of Bom Jesus is “infant Jesus” or "good Jesus". The Bom Jesu Basilica or Bom Jesus Basilica is situated in Old Goa which was Portuguese capital during initial days of their rule. There is a church is located at a distance of ten km from Goa’s capital city of Panjim.

A place which is located close to the convent of St Francis is popular for mortal remains and tomb of St Francis Xavier. St Francis Xavier is believed to have come to India along with Portuguese convoy to spread Christianity in India. He was associated with Society of Jesus.

Se Cathedral

Se Cathedral is most popular and ancient religious place in Goa. Se cathedral is considered as a biggest church in entire Asian region. The available statistics indicate that construction of this Church took 80 years. The Church which has an excellent tradition is devoted to Catherine of Alexandria. The site is part of old Goa. The Portuguese art, sculpture and their royalty can be clearly experienced by a visit to this important church which is placed at high respect and sacredness by Christian community across the world. Se cathedral features in list of Heritage site declared by UNESCO.

Church of St. Francis of Assisi

Towards west side of the Se cathedral lies Church of St. Francis of Assisi in convent. The structure was initially constructed for a chapel and it was renovated to form the full functioning church in year 1521. On 2nd Aug 1602 this church was dedicated to Holy Spirit. The Franciscan mendicants made use of convents as their residence and these convents were subjected to renovations in year 1559. However, the convent was closed by Portuguese administration in year 1835. This church was transformed into a museum by Archaeological Survey of India in year 1964. The church has enormous wealth of paintings, sculpture and artifacts.

Art work of this church is an amalgamation of both Mosaic-Corinthian style and Tuscan culture. The former style is used on interior while the latter is used on exterior part of church. The inside walls of church is decorated with important situations of Bible and Complex floral designs. The position of facade has a statue of St Michael. Further the pedestal in one chapel is adorned by a wooden statue of St Francis Assisi. The main altar is decorated with a well carved niche and tabernacle which is supported by 4 evangelists. Tabernacle is ornamented with two large statues of Jesus on the cross and St Francis Assisi.

Church of Lady of Rosary

The Lady of Rosary Church is ideally located towards western side of Monte Santo or Holy Hill. One can have an excellent view of Divar Island and Mandovi River from the Church. Many Historical evidences state that this was the site where Alfonso de Albuquerque organized his army and emerged victorious in year 1510. The site has a plaque with some inscriptions of 1950`s period. This region was renovated and transformed into a Church in year 1543 and handed over to Franciscans for its upkeep. The Church is held with high respect and esteem by people as it was center for teaching by St. Francis Xavier. He commenced teaching catechism to local flocks who used to assemble at site on hearing sound of a small bell.

The Church façAde was majestic and it appeared like a giant gate opening to counter invaders. The interior and exterior designs of this site are very simple. Garcia de Sa was one of the first Governor’s of Goa. His tombstone is placed in front of altar. The tombstone depict classical example of "Manueline" architecture style followed by Portuguese. The interior design is very simple and consists of five altars. Image of Lady of Rosary or Nossa Senhora de Rozario is found on main altar.

Church of St. Augustine

The church of St. Augustine was built by 12 Augustian friars in year 1572 after they reached Goa on 3rd Sep 1572. The complete construction work of church was finished in year 1602. As per present status both convent and church are in ruins. The condition of church was excellent till 1835 before it was neglected after a religious order passed by Portuguese administration. The church underwent serious deterioration with vault collapsing in 1842 and facade on 8th of Aug 1931. The only remain of this ancient monument is a bell tower which stands without a bell today. The bell of bell tower was removed and placed at Fort Aguada Light House between years 1841 to 1871. It was then transferred to church of Lady of Immaculate Conception located at Panaji. It is still properly functioning there.

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