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Churches and Convents of Goa

Brief
Goa, the coastal paradise located in South Western India is popular for its sun kissed sandy beaches, easygoing life style, fenni and various fairs and festivals.A land which is so much filled with leisure and gaiety, a land that pulsates with the rhythm of disco lights in the night and never allows its nights to sleep - is surely going to give a separate space to its mornings, especially when it is a part of the sacred land of India. The relaxed and tranquil atmosphere of Goa makes it a hit place among tourists seeking sun, sand, food.One of the major tourist attractions in Goa are Churches. Goan churches are famous for their interesting architecture usually a blend of two or more forms. These institutions of religion played a major role in inclining people initially towards Christianity. And today with a significant Christian population, the churches are important in Goa's religious, cultural and social fabric.

Tourist Attractions

The Se Cathedral
 The Se Cathedral is the largest church in Asia The Se Cathedral is the largest church in Asia. The cathedral in Old Goa was built in the 16th century AD by the Roman Catholic rule of Goa under the Portuguese rule. The original building was built of mud, stones and straw. It was dedicated to St. Catherine because on 25th November, St. Catherine's Day, Alfonso de Albuquerque captured Goa. It underwent several alterations afterwards and a second church was built in 1515 AD. The status of the church was elevated to that of a cathedral with the establishment of the Diocese of Goa. This structure was also demolished and a new building was made. The construction Cathedral began in 1562 and completed in 1652. Dom Francisco Continuo, the Count of Redondo started its construction. The final construction was supervised by Antonio Argueiros and Julio Simao, Chief Engineer to India.

The Convent and Church of St. Francis of Assisi
Not far away stands the beautiful whitewashed Church of St. Francis of Assisi, which today houses part of the archaeological museum. Exhibits include prehistoric items from a distant tribal past as also reminders of Goa Dourada, Golden Goa, also known as the 'Pearl of the Orient' or 'Rome of the East' during its heyday. It was the concentration of magnificent churches, symbol of a powerful conquering presence, which justified this last title. In fact, the Church of St. Cajatan, built by an Italian architect in 1651, was modeled in miniature on St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. Today a theological college is housed here.

Chapel of St. Catherine
Next to the famous Church of St. Francis of Assisi stands the Chapel of St.Catherine. The original structure was built by Afonso de Albuquerque to mark his victory of November 24,1510. Originally it was a thatched structure which was later replaced and a new altar was placed in 1550. The features are distinctly Renaissance. A three storeyed facade is flanked by square towers. The chapel was restored in 1951, the vault and sacristy of the church made again using the same material. 

Basilica Of BomJesus
Basilica Of BomJesus, is situated in Old Goa. Bom Jesus means Infant Jesus or Good Jesus. Inside the Basilica, you will see a beautiful display of architectural pieces in wood, stone, gold and granite. Immediately to the right is the altar of St. Anthony and to the left is a wooden statue of St. Francis Xavier. 

Church of Holy Spirit
This church was built on a site wher earlier a temple stood. It was razed by Jesuit Friar Antonio de Quadros and in its place was built Church of Holy Spirit in 1565. However the church was destroyed during Muslim invasion but nonetheless it was built again and that too several times. The interiors of the church are designed in true Indo-Baroque style, its spacious and simply wonderful which makes church all the more dignified. The facade is flanked by towers which are surmounted by cupolas and domes resembling a lot like the the Basilica of Bom Jesus.

Church of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception
It is considered the landmark church of Panjim. Built in 1619, the Baroque facade of the church is flanked by two towers on either side. Some of the more famous features of the church are its Gothic style stairs which are quite majestic. These were added in 1871 along with a central pediment which was topped by a huge bell (second largest in Goa). Also exceptionally beautiful is the church's main altar.