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GoaCentral > Sightseeing > Monuments of Goa > Monuments of Old Goa

Monuments of Old Goa

Old Goa is all monuments; some in pristine condition and some in ruins. In all they give us a glimpse of the era of "Golden Goa" when Old Goa was the capital and the "Lisbon of the East". Click on for more.....

Ruins of the Colegio de Populo Viceroy's Arch Ruins of the Arsenal
Fort Naroa Ruins of the Temple of Saptakoteshwar Ruins of the Temple of Brahmapur
Archaeological Museum & Portrait Gallery Old Goa Goencho Saib-St. Francis Xavier
Churches of Old Goa Alfonso de Albuquerque Dom Vasco da Gama

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Ruins of the Colegio de Populo

To the south of the convent and church of St. Agustine was situated the Noviciate of the Anustinians.  Opposite to this building, to the west, there was the grand college known as Colegio de Populo.  It was erected in 1600 by the provincial, Fr. Pedro da Cruz, and was destined for the training of the younger brethren of the same order.

It was connected with the Noviciate by an arch spanning a broad street called Rua dos Judeus (street of the Jews).

Soon after the closing of the religious orders, some charitable institutions of the Santa Casa de Misercordia were transferred to these buildings.  But with their removal to another place, the building fell into neglect, and gradually became dilapidated, their ruin being precipitated by the fall of the sumptuous vault of the church, on the 8th September 1842, which buried under its debris the colossal image of St. Augustine, founder of the order, and that of Nossa Senhora de Graca, patroness of the church.

Nothing now remains of all these buildings but a heap of ruins, amidst which stand the arch and the forty tower of the church of St. Augustine as a gloomy remembrance of the glorious past.

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Viceroy's Arch

This was build by Viceroy Francisco da Gama, the grandson of Vasco da Gama in 1597. It carries the deer crest of his family. On top of the arch on the side facing the Mandovi river is a small statue of Vasco da Gama, fully attired in his royal uniform. The arch is built of laterite stone with the side facing the river constructed of green granite. The original arch collapsed in 1948 and it was restored in 1954. The restoration omitted the third tier that contained the statue of St Catherine made of bronze that is now in the courtyard of the museum. Inside the archway is an inscription to Vasco da Gama and also to King Dom Joao iv, the first Portuguese king after it was liberated from Spain in 1640.On the back of the archway is a statue of a crowned woman standing on a "native",  symbolizing the "Christian victory over paganism". Tradition has it that on taking office, all viceroys made the procession under the arch where they would be given the ceremonial key to the city and Goa. The road under the arch known as the Rua Direita leads to the main square where most of the monuments exist today.


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Viceroy's Arch, view from the river Viceroy's Arch, Vasco da Gama's statue Viceroy's Arch,  inscriptions & plaque Viceroy's Arch, inscriptions & plaque
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Viceroy's Arch, inscriptions & plaque Viceroy's Arch, view from the Old Goa side Viceroy's Arch, view from the Old Goa side

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Ruins of the  Arsenals

To the west of the Royal Hospital lay the Ribeiro Grands, which in the first days of the Portuguese conquest, was merely called Rineira, or Ribeiro das Naus or Ribeiro das Armadas and subsequently the Arsenals.  It included, besides the docks, various important public establishments, such as the Mint, and the Gun-Foundry, where everything requisite of the army and the renowned and formidable navy were manufactured.

The origin of this vast arsenal which contained many establishments including a chapel, can be traced to the times preceding the capture of Goa by Alfonso de Albuquerque on St. Catherine's day, the day the Portuguese first entered the city.  

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Fort Naroa

Situated in the Island of Divar, which is opposite the old city of Goa, in the Ilhas, was originally build by the Muslims.  It was abandoned in 1834 and is now in ruins.The island of Divar, the ancient Dipavati, is one league in length and a quarter of a league in breadth.  Celebrated in ancient tradition for its sanctity, it was the site of a tirtha and of a Hindu temple, which existed up to the time of Portuguese conquest.  The Island subsequently became home to the residence of many of the noble families of Goa. Besides three parochial churches, it possesses a chapel containing two images of Christ held in great veneration by the Catholics of the place.  The ruins of the fort are discernible on the northern part of the Island, called Naroa. Opposite the fort ruins, on the bank of a tributary of the river Mandovi, lies the modern "Tirtha" , which attracts thousands of  Hindu pilgrims annually who come here to bathe and worship. 

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Site of The Temple of Saptakoteshwar

Ancient Goa rulers from the Hindu Kadamba dynasty worshipped an incarnation of God Shiva commonly known here as” Saptakoteshwar”. They styled themselves as “Saptakoteshwar Labdha Vara Prasad” (i.e. under the blessing of the Goa Saptakoteshwar).  Originally, it appears that the Kadamba Kings of Goa built the temple at Diwadi, during the early part of the 12th century.  It was then destroyed by the Sultans of the Deccan during the middle of the 14th century and was again rebuilt on the same site by Madhava Mantri, a minister of the Vijaynagar Empire by the end of the 14th century. Following the Portuguese conquest, the temple was again demolished  in 1540 AD and a Chapel of Our Lady of Candelaria was erected on its site in 1563.  shifted to Naroa in Bicholim by the local chieftain of Bicholim.

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Ruins of the Temple of Brahmapur at Ela village, Old Goa.

This reportedly was a colony of Brahmins that existed since ancient times. Tradition has it that it was founded by Madhava Mantri, one of the celebrated ministers of the Vijayanagar Empire. The temple of Lord Shiva under the name of Lord Goveshwar was venerated here. The Portuguese destroyed this temple during the early period of their conquest of Goa, along with thousands of other Hindu temples. During the brief spell in which inquisition was suspended in 1775 the worship of deity- Goveshwar was allowed to be renewed.  But soon after, the Viceroy, Dom Federico Guillermo de Souza, destroyed the temple and the deity again on June 6, 1779 under orders from the Queen of Portugal.

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Archaeological museum and portrait gallery

This used to be a wing of the old Franciscan monastery and was converted to a museum in 1964. On exhibit are a selection of pre-colonial and post colonial artifacts. The main hall has at its entrance a huge statue of Alfonso de Albuquerque, that once stood in Old Goa  and subsequently at the Azad Maidan in Panaji. It was removed after liberation to the museum. The other areas are the "Key Gallery", the " Portrait Gallery" and the "Sculpture Gallery".

The "key gallery" has among other things a statue of the famous Portuguese poet, Luis Camoes, holding a copy of "Os Lusíadas". This statue was also moved to the museum following liberation.

The " Portrait Gallery" occupies the first floor of the museum and has over sixty paintings of the Portuguese Governors and Viceroys that ruled Goa beginning with the first- Dom Joao de Castro( 1545-48 ) and other notables like Dom Vasco da  Gama ( 1524) and the only Goan Governor, Bernardo Peres da Silva ( 1835 )and the longest serving governor, Jose Ferreira de Pestano ( 1844-51 and 1864-70). There is even a portrait of Portugal's right wing prime minister and dictator, Antonio Salazar.

The "Sculpture Gallery" contains some artifacts dating to the pre-colonial era. There are a lot of Stone sculptures and idols dating back to the Kadamba years and also a stone pillar brought from San Thome, Madras , the site of martyrdom of St Thomas.

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