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Churches

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Goa’s churches owe the majority of their design features to the European traditions of their time, and some are copies of buildings in Rome or Lisbon. However, there are some features that distinguish them from their European counterparts. In some cases these are practical modifications to suit the local climate. Large windows are set deep into the walls, for example, to allow plenty of light to penetrate, but to keep out direct sunlight.

The churches were constructed from the local rock laterite, which is porous, so there was a need to whitewash it regularly. The lime compound with which this was done was made from oyster shells. This had the effect of proofing the walls against moisture, although heavy monsoon rain meant that the work had to be repeated every three or four years. Since laterite is coarse and unsuited to fine carving, the more important churches, such as the Basilica of Bom Jesus in Old Goa, have façades of basalt that had to be specially imported.

Other features that make the churches unique are the work of the local Indian artisans who built them. The floral decoration inside the Church of St Francis of Assisi in Old Goa is quintessentially Indian, as is some of the flamboyant woodcarving to be found in churches throughout Goa.

 
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Basilica of Bom Jesus, Old Goa
Located at Old Goa, 10 kms east of Panaji, the Basilica of Bom Jesus is a World Heritage Monument. The Basilica of Bom Jesus, perhaps Goa's most famous church and among the most revered by Christians worldwide, is partially in ruins but still a...
 
 
 
Sé Cathedral, Old Goa
One of the most ancient and celebrated religious buildings of Goa, this magnificent 16th century monument to the Roman Catholic rule in Goa under the Portuguese is the largest church in Asia. The Cathedral is dedicated to St Catherine of Alexandria on whose feast...
 
 
 
Convent of St Cajetan and Church of Divine Providence, Old Goa
The large and beautiful Church of St Cajetan, lies about half a kilometre away to the north east of the Se Cathedral, and quite near the ruins of the Viceregal Palace. This church, which is said to have been modelled on the original design...
 
 
 
Our Lady Of The Immaculate Conception Church, Panjim
The church was one of the first to be built in Goa; it was ready by 1541. The early church was completely rebuilt from its foundations in 1619. The interior of the church is relatively simple by the standards of the time although the...
 
 
 
St Augustine's Tower, Old Goa
One of the most spectacular of all monuments in Goa, reproduced on innumerable travel brochures and advertisements is the St Augustine tower in Old Goa. This highly visible landmark, a 46m high tower served as a belfry and formed part of the facade of...
 
 
 
 
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