Backpacking Guide: Old Goa

Old Goa is a small town in the North Goa district. Portugal-styled churches are famous for their architecture and impeccable history behind them. Old Goa, best known for its churches, is the perfect place to be for the traveller who wants to drown himself in the beautiful Portugal architecture of Goa.

NT GoGoaNow gives you a sneak peek into some places you should visit when in Old Goa!

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Basilica of Bom Jesus

As you enter Old Goa, you’re definitely going to see the monumental Basilica of Bom Jesus. The church was consecrated in May 1605 by Fr. Alexia de Menezes, the Archbishop of Goa. The church is a magnificent example of Baroque architecture in Goa. The church is well known as it embodies the relics of St. Francis Xavier, who lays to rest in a silver casket within the church. The relics are taken down every 10 years for an exposition which calls forth millions of devotees. The architectural monument comes under the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Se Cathedral 

The Sé Cathedral de Santa Catarina, known as Se Cathedral, in short, is known to be the largest church in Asia. The majestic church stands strong before its lush green lawns. The church was built as a dedication to Catherine of Alexandria. The church was built in the year 1619 but wasn’t completed until the year 1652. The church originally had two towers however the left tower collapsed in the year 1776. The church also hosts a large bell known as the ‘Golden Bell’ which has a very strong tone. The church which is a dedication to Catherine of Alexandria showcases numerous paintings on the side of the altar of her and depictions of her life. To the right stands the Chapel of Cross of Miracles; it is said believed that a vision of Christ appeared in the mid-17th century.

Ruins of St. Augustine 

The church of St. Augustine is a church complex within old Goa which was built by the Augustinian order and compromised of Our Lady of Grace, the Convent of Saint Augustine, The College of Populo, and The Seminary of St Guilherme. Enduring the test of time stands the remains of the church. The ruins of St. Augustine were declared a world heritage site in the year 1986. The site remains a location where the remains of Queen Ketevan were found. The ruins of the church remain open for visitors to this day.

Archaeological Museum 

The archaeological museum is located near the St. Francis of Assisi in Old Goa. The museum has different galleries that showcase paintings, olden monuments and rare findings that were preserved through the years. Each of the galleries has its own story to tell. The archaeological museum is the place to be for one who is looking for a peek into the past of Goa and how it came to be.

Viceroy Arc

This famous structure was once the only way to enter Old Goa. The structure was built in the year 1597 and was later restored in the year 1957. It was built by Vasco da Gama’s great-grandson, Francisco da Gama in memory of the explorer, Vasco da Gama. It was said that every governor who took charge of Goa had to walk through this arc. The arc is adorned by a statue of Vasco da Gama facing the River Mandovi.