Archeological Ruins in Old Goa

Ruins Of Arsenal

To the west of the Royal Hospital in Old Goa are the military remains known as the Arsenals. In the early years of Portuguese invasion, it was known as Rineira or Ribeiro das Naus. This enormous Arsenal has its roots in the days before the Portuguese first settled in the city, when it was home to a number of buildings, including a chapel. Everything needed for the army was created by the Portuguese Arsenal, which was later established as a military region.

Along with the docks, it also housed some significant government buildings, including the mint and the gun foundry. A renowned and formidable navy was also trained here. Today, it serves as both – an Old Goa monument and a military ruin. The closest airport is Goa Airport in Dabolim, while the nearest train station is Karmali.

Viceroy’s Arch

The Arch of Viceroy, also known as Viceroy’s Arch, was erected in 1599 in Goa, India, by Viceroy Francisco da Gama, the grandson of Vasco da Gama. In 1954, the side facing the river was restored, following a collapse. It is adorned with the deer emblem which was on Vasco da Gama’s coat of arms. It also houses a statue of Vasco da Gama at the centre. The side facing the city has a sculpture of a woman who is wearing a crown and a robe, holding a sword in one hand and an open book in the other.

Back when Old Goa was the capital of Portuguese Goa, this archway was one of the main entrances into the city. The archway also held ceremonial importance. At this spot, the existing viceroy would hand over the ceremonial keys to the city of Old Goa to the new viceroy. The new official would then pass through the archway. The archway also contains an inscription that commemorates the emancipation of Portugal from Spain.

Arch Of Conception

The Arch of Our Lady of the Conception remains one of the few vestiges of improvements or interventions implemented by the Portuguese in the Muslim walled perimeter of Goa. The structure was known as the Gate of the Punished [Justiçados] and is prominently depicted in the view of Goa by Pedro Barreto Resende dated around 1635. In the mid-17th century the gate was renamed after Our Lady of the Conception. 

Ruins of the Tower of the Convent of St. Augustine

The church was built on top of the Monte Santo (Holy Hill), between 1597 and 1602 by Augustinian friars who landed in Goa in 1587. This is the only surviving tower of the four that were once a part of the Church of St. Augustine. What was once perhaps the biggest Church in Goa is now a crumbling ruin, largely deserted, with its glory days behind it. Originally consisting of four towers and a massive vault, the dimensions of this superb edifice placed it on par with the great imperial cathedrals of the Renaissance era.

The church was abandoned in 1835 after the Portuguese government of Goa began evicting many religious orders in Goa under its new repressive policies. The subsequent neglect caused the vault of the church to collapse in 1842. The body collapsed soon after and by 1871, the bell was moved from the tower to Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Church in Panjim, where it remains to date. The original Church of Our Lady of Grace once contained eight chapels, four altars and had a convent attached to it. The tower which still stands is built of laterite. This great structure stands four stories high an was intended as a belfry.

Ruins Of Colegio De Populo

The Ruins of the Colegio De Populo is located at Old Goa 9 km east of Panaji in North Goa District. Built in 1600, it was ordained for the training of the younger brethren of the Augustinian Order. With the closure of the college, the building was abandoned and it gradually fell apart. Today, amid a heap of ruins stands an arch of the college. Ruins of the church of St Augustine also can be seen nearby.

Facade of St. Paul’s College

St. Paul’s College was a Jesuit school, and later college, founded circa 1542 by saint Francis Xavier, at Old Goa. It originally belonged to the Confraternity of Santa Fé, when it had been a seminary. However, it was given to the Jesuits for the purpose of educating the local youth and from there went on to become a college. It housed the first printing press in India, having published the first books in 1556. However, a lesser-known fact that speaks volumes of the prestige of this college is that the first astronomical use of a telescope in the Indian subcontinent was performed at the new premises of St. Paul’s College. In 1560, due to signs of decay, the church was demolished and the foundation of a new church was laid on the 25th of January in the same year, whereupon three large arches were built to support a cracking wall.

Despite this, regrettably, it eventually fell into ruin. The only vestige of the original college and of the collegiate church consecrated on 25 January 1543 is the Gate of the College of St. Paul, that can be seen south of St. Cajetan’s church. The arch with a niche at the top and a cross crowning it, is built of laterite and flanked by basalt columns.

Old Pillary and NEW PILLARY

The pillar is often referred to as ‘Hat Katro Khambo’  in Konkani, though there is no historical record of the same. ‘Hat Katro Khambo’  roughly translates as a pillar where hands were cut. Although many regard it as the ‘Pillar of Inquisition’, the few accounts available of the inquisition in Goa do not mention anything about the pillar. So, it is still uncertain if the pillar had a link to the inquisition imposed in Goa. The pillar is probably a relic of an ancient temple and is believed to have been originally located somewhere near what is now known as the Gandhi circle and was shifted later to its present location due to congestion of the area. The original location of the pillar was called the Pelourinho Velho. It was here where the ‘bazaar velho’ or the old market was located. The Pelourinho also functioned as a place for announcement of municipal decrees.

Thus it was a centre for important activities and signified a symbol of state authority. Although the history and authority over the pillar may be debatable, the citizens of Old Goa regard it with a lot of importance and have tried to conserve its heritage.

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