Goa Half Day Tour Of Goa Beaches, Old Church
Located at a distance of about 9 km from Goa’s state capital Panaji, Old Goa is a significant area because of its association with the colonial rule.The historical city is dotted with many magnificent churches, convents and historical buildings that have been the witnesses to the amazing history of the state.The city is also known as Velha Goa, where ‘Velha’ translates to ‘Old’ in Portuguese.Because of its immense popularity during the early years of Portuguese rule, the city earned a popular phrase that ‘One who has seen Goa need not see Lisbon’.The city was also once called Goa Dourada which means Golden Goa.
The old remains of many sites in Old Goa are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The city was established by the rulers of Bijapur Sultanate in the 15th century. Before that, the site was known as Gokapattana or Govapuri, a popular port established in the 11th century and that changed hands from Kadamba Dynasty and Vijayanagara Empire.
The city was soon captured from the Bijapur Sultans by the Portuguese invaders and was made the capital of the Portuguese India. However, the place was later abandoned due to malaria and plague breakouts.
Spending a half day in Old Goa is a memorable experience for the tourists from different categories.One of the popular sites in the area is Adil Shah’s Doorway which is constructed in Basalt and accommodates the ruins of the palace owned by the Bijapur rulers.However, the most popular attractions consist of the churches that were built during the Portuguese rule. Many of them have been maintained well, while others are in the state of ruins but can still be visited.
Se Cathedral of Santa Catarina is the most amazing church in Old Goa and the largest one in India. The church was built by the Portuguese to mark their victory and annexation of Goa in the year 1510. Built in the Portuguese-Manueline architectural style, the church has its main attraction in the form of a huge Golden Bell which is counted among the bets ones in the whole world. Another popular attraction in Old Goa is the Church of St Francis of Assisi.
The church was built in the 17th century and is well-known for various elements like circular pilasters and frescoes. The attractive Manueline doorway is another noteworthy feature of the church.
The visitors to Old Goa don’t miss the opportunity to visit the Basilica of Bom Jesus which is one of the World Heritage Sites in the region. The basilica is particularly important for holding the remains of Saint Francis Xavier. The baroque architecture of the structure gives it a magnificent appeal.
Dedicated to infant Jesus, the basilica is a popular pilgrimage site for the Christians. Some of the mesmerizing features of the structure include marble floors with embedded precious stones and a number of beautiful mural paintings. The silver casket that preserves the saint’s mortal remains is another attraction.
St Augustine’s Church and Monastery is another worthwhile attraction in Old Goa. Constructed in 1572, the building was once the most popular one, but was later abandoned. The bell tower of Augustine still stands as a majestic monument and attracts the tourists in large numbers.
The Chapel of St Anthony and the Chapel of St Catherine are other attractions in the close proximity and are visited by the tourists with different religious backgrounds.The tourists also like to explore Archbishop's Palace,which accommodates a Christian Art Gallery. The building is popular for being the only civic building left from the era of colonial rule.
The Chapel of Our Lady of the Rosary in Old Goa exhibits the motifs showcasing the naval expertise of the Portuguese. The chapel is constructed in Manueline architectural style and accommodates the tomb of the first European woman who came to Goa and was known as Catarina a Piro. Other churches and convents in the city that are worth visiting include Convent and Church of St John of God, Convent of St Monica, Church of Our Lady of the Mount and Convent and Church of St Cajetan.
Vasco da Gama’s grandson Francisco da Gama built the Viceroys’ Arch which is another place of tourist interest in the city. Built of laterite, the arch has a statue of Vasco da Gama as its main attraction. Among the popular museums in the city is the Archaeological Museum which offers exhibits from different eras. The main highlights of the museum are wooden sculptures, postal stamps and Portuguese arms and weapons. The museum also has a portrait gallery which displays the painting of different Portuguese governors and viceroys.
Pilar Museum located on the Pilar hillock is an interesting tourist attraction. The hillock has a special significance in the history of the region for being the place where people from religions like Hinduism, Christianity, Jainism and Buddhism lived in communal harmony. The main highlights of the museum are a granite sculpture, ancient coins, old idols, seals and paintings. Another museum is Sound and Light Gallery Museum which offers a spellbinding religious tour of Christianity.
The Convent of St Monica houses the Museum of Christian Art which is considered as one of its kind in the whole of Asia. The museum features the masterpieces of Indo-Portuguese Christian art which includes a variety of fabulous sculptures and ivory items. Many other exhibits in the museum include furniture items, paintings and textile items. There are items made of many metals, some of them being made of precious metals as well.
The tourists to Old Goa can have great time walking on foot and exploring various religious buildings and monuments. The old and new buildings showcase the blend of different religions and cultures which is still relevant in the region. There are small shops and stalls near to different tourist attractions where the tourists can purchase a variety of souvenirs at reasonable prices. The city has few good options for having local foods and drinks.