5 Major Architectural Examples of Portuguese Era in Goa

Se Cathedral
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Goa, famously referred to as a “Tourist Paradise”, lies on the west coast of India. It is one of the most attractive tourist destinations thanks to the endless natural beauty and architectural wonders. The land has a rich culture and a great history, which draw you more. It came under the rule of various emperors among whom Portuguese who ruled the land for around 450 years had constructed churches and monuments that to date speak of their undisputable architectural skills. Here are the top 5 architectural examples of Portuguese era in Goa.

1. Se Cathedral

Se Cathedral

Photo by Danny Burke, CC BY-SA 2.5

Se Cathedral is Asia’s largest church, which was built during the 16th century by Portuguese. Originally built of mud and stones, the church was dedicated to St. Catherine as it was on St. Catherine’s Day that Alfonso de Albuquerque defeated Bijapur king to conquer Goa.  The church has 14 altars, eight chapels and five bells. The giant bell, referred to as the ‘Golden Bell’, is the major attraction in the church and it is considered to be one of the world’s best bells. Se Cathedral houses ‘The Cross of Miracles’, which is believed to have exceptional powers.

2. Basilica Of Bom Jesus

Basilica Of Bom Jesus

Photo by Hema Priyadharshini, CC BY-SA 3.0

Basilica of Bom Jesus is the most famous church in Goa as it houses the tomb and relics of St. Francis Xavier. The construction began in the year 1594 and completed in 1605. The church is a three storied structure that is a blend of Doric, Corinthian and Composite architectural styles in its façade. The three entrances in the lowest part of the façade out of four parts are beautifully designed. On 3rd December every year, on the day of Feast of St. Francis Xavier, the finger of the saint is displayed for public view.

3. Reis Magos Fort

Reis Magos Fort

Photo by Rajib Ghosh, CC BY-SA 4.0

Reis Magos Fort was built at a location of strategic importance to check enemies crossing Mandovi waters to reach Goa. This first line of defense of Goa was built between 1551 and 1554. Following an agreement between Portuguese and British, the fort served as a lodge for British soldiers. The fort was then converted into a sub-jail and it lodged several convicts. Freedom fighters of Goa were also kept here as prisoners. Now the fort is restored and is preserved as a cultural centre. The views of Mandovi River and Arabian Sea from the fort are breathtaking.

4. Church Of St. Francis Of Assisi

Church Of St. Francis Of Assisi

Photo by Aaron C, CC BY-SA 2.0

5. Our Lady Of The Immaculate Conception Church

Our Lady Of The Immaculate Conception Church

Photo by Koshy Koshy, CC BY 2.0

Consecrated in the year 1541, Our Lady Of The Immaculate Conception Church was visited by Portuguese sailors to offer their thanks after a long voyage filled with hardships from their homeland. The church is said to have served as a light house to sailors. The massive bell in the church is the second largest bell in the world. Yet another striking feature of the church is the double flight of stairs that lead you to the church. The stairs were a later addition. The church in its present state was built in the year 1619.

Goa has more to offer to highlight the architectural excellence of Portuguese. I was on a short trip and hence the most I could cover were a couple of breathtaking beaches and a few monuments that reflect the architectural style of the past. I would love to have more information on the Portuguese architecture in Goa so that my next visit to the land can be more focused.

by Rohit Agarwal

Author Bio

Rohit, an architect, loves traveling and never misses an opportunity to visit a far off land. Perfectly in line with his profession, he is immediately attracted to everything that is a display of fine architecture and he is always on the lookout for more. Blogging being in the list of his passions, he settles down to pen his experiences and share the knowledge he gains.


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