No Goa travel guide would be complete without the mention of churches in Goa. These beautiful churches are part of Goa’s identity and character. Most of these churches are in Old Goa. These different churches in Goa are famous due to their distinctive architecture, which is a blend of two or more different styles. The churches play a vital role in Goa’s cultural, social and religious life. The oldest of Goa churches is the church of Our Lady of Rosary situated in Old Goa. Visiting any of these churches is truly spectacular because one not only gets to marvel at the ancient architecture but also feel a sense of serenity and calmness.
Goa churches are known for their architectural styles and following is a brief overview on some of them:
Our Lady of Rosary: This beautiful church is perched on a hill called Monte Santo meaning a Holy Hill. Splendid views of River Mandovi and Divar Island can be seen from the church. This church is a fine example of Manueline architecture.
Church of St. Francis of Assisi: The church building is known for its architecture, as the interiors feature old murals, carved woodwork and ornamented screens behind the altar. The murals depict the life of St Francis and the floor is covered with carved tombstones with coats-of-arms. The church was first constructed in 1517 and then later it was rebuilt twice.
Basilica of Bom Jesus: A description about this church is mentioned in almost every reputable Goa travel guide. This is one of the most popular of churches in Goa and must be visited. Built in the 16th century, the church contains the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier, which is enshrined here in a silver casket. This church is now a World Heritage Site.
Se Cathedral: A very well known name amongst Goa churches. This is one of the most magnificent churches in Old Goa that awes tourists with its opulence and grandeur. There are five bells in this cathedral among which the Golden Bell is the most famous due to its rich sound. This cathedral has been dedicated to St. Catherine of Alexandria.
Church of St Cajetan: This church is a replica of St Peter’s in Rome and was constructed by the Italian friars. The façade is Corinthian while the altar is devoted to Our Lady of Divine Providence.
Church of St. Anna: Situated in Talaulim, this church is known for its Christian architecture and is dedicated to St.Anna. The hollow walls are the unique feature of this church that was used by people to walk in secrecy for confession.
Church of St. Augustine: The Augustinian friars built this church in 1602, but it was abandoned in 1835. What remains today of the church are a huge 46m tower that was used as a belfry and was also part of the façade.
Church of Mae de Deus: Constructed in 1873, this church is known for its scenic surroundings. Featuring Gothic style of architecture, this is one of the most beautiful Goa churches that literally sparkles when it is all lit up in the evenings.