If you want to spend great time in the lap of nature even without compromising with modern amenities, Goa can be a right choice to go with. There are various historical places, monuments and other tourist attractions in Goa to explore. However, there are various sight-seeing locations in Goa, but the most significant one can be the churches and convents of Goa. If you have keen interest in unveiling the beauty of historical religious structures, you should not forget visiting this great complex of historical structures.

Is It a World Heritage Site?

Churches and convents located in old Goa are considered among the most visited tourist attractions in the Indian state of Goa. The actual site is situated at Velha or Old Goa, India. It was declared as a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1986. So, if you want to visit top 10 world heritage sites in India, you should not forget visiting churches and convents in the state. There are basically two reasons behind putting this complex among the top world heritage sites in India – first the great influence of western architecture and design such as manueline styles, baroque and catholic impression, and second the complex of monuments in Old Goa represents the fine specimen of evangelization. The third reason could be basilica of Born Jesus, the historical tomb of famous Francisco Xavier. In short, it is a fine example of catholic religion in Asia particularly in India.

What Is the History of Goa?

The Indian state of Goa used to be the capital city of Portuguese rulers in India during sixteenth century. The current Old Goa was established by Sultanate of the then Muslim rulers of kingdom Bijapur during 15th of century. They developed the village at the banks of river Mandovi. Later the village was overtaken by Afonso De Albuquerque in 1510. He was the first Portuguese Indian viceroy. The city was almost untouched till the 12th century.

After some time Franciscans, Jesuits and missionaries started setting up their establishments in Goa during 16th of century. They started using the city as the main center for spreading Catholicism in country. However, initially settlers tolerant to available Hinduism, but later during 1560, they started spreading Catholicism in the area. The 16th and 17th of centuries are considered as the golden period for Goa. It was the time when trades, business and developments on their highest level. Just like Lisbon, Goa was also witnessing great progress in every field of life.

Churches and Monasteries in Goa

In the initial two centuries during Portuguese rule, there were various churches and monasteries constructed in Goa. It was the time when travelers going through the city didn’t forget unveiling the beauty of mesmerizing churches and monasteries. However, many of those buildings were demolished due to various reasons, but still there are various grand historical catholic and non-catholic churches and monasteries available in the state. These historical monuments simply depict the cultural, social and religion exchange between India and Portuguese.

Architecture of Churches and Convents of Old Goa

However, architectural forms or design usually follow the European canon, but still internal decoration of the historical buildings offer something outstanding. Visitors or tourists can easily explore the beauty of internal decoration of altarpieces, altars, furniture, and paintings that depict the work of local Indian artists. It was made possible by the amazing tradition of sculptors and artists in the Indian state of Goa. They tried to create something outstanding in terms of religious structures. They represented the better architecture than the then colonial Brazil.

Dutch, British and Present Day Goa

From the late 17th of century, business competition with British and Dutch led to the financial crisis. The economic status of Old Goa declined dramatically. It was the time when Brazil was emerged as the most significant colony to powerful Portugal. Apart from that, with increasing demand, Mandovi port became inadequate for various activities. River port was not a good option for big ships. Soon after, the viceroy decided to move Panjim or New Goa in the year of 1759. It was the reason why Old Goa lost its official status as the capital of the reign in the year of 1843.

During the twentieth century, troops of independent India invaded the Goa. Indian Government simply demolished the political network of Portuguese in India. However, it is true that Portuguese rulers were abandoned from Goa, but tourists can still witness the cultural imprints of Portuguese in the state. Churches and Convents of Goa were declared as World Heritage site by prestigious UNESCO in the year of 1986.

Famous Monuments in Goa

If you want to unveil the historical places to visit in Goa, you should not forget visiting churches and convents of Goa. It is certainly a great option to go with when it comes to visiting top historical monuments in India. However, there are endless monuments available in the state to visit, but only a few are highly visited. So, let’s have a detailed look at architecture of stated below key monuments in Old Goa.

Architecture of Ingreja De Nossa Senhora Do Rosario

It is one of the most visited historical monuments or churches in the state. The church of “our lady of the rosary” was constructed in the year of 1543. It is considered among the oldest churches in Goa. However, it was constructed as a parish church, but later it was converted to collegial. When you see the church from outside, you may find it looks like a fortress. The entry gate flanked by tiny cylindrical stylish towers incorporated with cupolas is just like traditional late-gothic or manueline Portugal, especially in famous Alentejo region. When you start witnessing the beauty of this grand church from inside, you will notice the Manueline vaults of famous chapels. Moreover, besides the present altarpiece devoted to “Our Lady of the Rosary”, tourists can also find an Indian or Persian style cenotaph with inscription. Tourists can also see the grave of famous “Garcia De Sa” who died in the year of 1549 just below the floor.

Architecture of Se Catedral of Goa

Another amazing building in the state is called Se Catedral of Goa. It is devoted to Catherine of Alexandria. It was constructed during the first decade of the then colonization. Later this small church was reconstructed in the year of 1562 during the rule of Viceroy Sir Dom F. Coutinsho. The construction was started 1562 but it was completed in the year of 1631.

Sé Catedral of Goa | Churches and Convents of Goa

Sé Catedral of Goa | Churches and Convents of Goa | By Photo by Danny Burke; edit by Kjetil_r (File:Se cathedral goa.jpg) [CC BY-SA 2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons

See of Goa Building

The famous “See of Goa” is considered among the biggest building constructed by the then Portuguese in India. it is about 91m long and massive wide that contributed to the real architectural works. This grand historical building has total three naves of the similar shaped, height and design. The construction work of Sees of Goa started in 1559.

How to Reach Churches and Convents of Goa

By Air

Goa airport is well connected with rest of airports in the country. Visitors or tourists can easily find out direct flight to Goa.

By Train

Indian Railway has a wide network throughout the state. So, if you want to reach to Churches and Convents in Goa, you can easily get train route towards it. the nearest railways station is Old Goa railway station.

By Road

If you want to enjoy road traveling, you can easily find out plenty of choices to determine. Old Goa is well connected with rest of country via roads.

When Should I Visit Churches and Convents of Goa?

The historical monuments can be visited throughout the year irrespective of public, national and state holidays.

What Is the Timing?

Tourists can visit at Church complex between 8.30 A.M. to 5.30 P.M. other historical monuments can be visited from sunrise to sunset.

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