Churches & Convents of Old Goa

The ancient glory of the city of old Goa which was once the capital of the Portuguese seaborne empire of India cannot be adequately visualised as most of the important structures were destroyed during the wars, leaving behind some ancient remains of their existence. The city was protected by a wall of fortification. Enclosed in it,among other structures to the west of the present Chapel of St. Catherine, was Ribeira Grande (Great Embankment), which was the city workshop and included an arsenal, a mint and gunfoundry, St. Catherine’s quay, Archbishop’s prison, Aljube, Chapel of St. Martin, College of St. Bonaventure and the Royal Hospital. On the right side of St. Catherine’s quay was Ribeira das Gales where elaborate Galleys of Mediterranean type were constructed. It was also the landing place for shipping from Portugal. Next to it was the Quay of the Viceroys or Terreiro Grande which was the centre of the official and commercial life of the Capital city and included the Viceroy’s palace known as Fort Palace, Custom House, principal landing place and square of the Palace or Terreiro do Paco. To its east was the great market of the city or Bazar Grande. To the south of the Bazar was the town of Goa which was approached through the Arch of the Viceroys, situated at the western end of the Palace. Rua Direita or High Street started with the Viceroy’s Arch and went through the main thoroughfare of the town for about 2 kilometres. The place of public auction or O Leilao was situated on this street.

In the south-eastern corner of the city and on the back side of the existing church of St. Cajetan were situated the College of St. Paul, Church and Convent of St. Dominic, Church and Convent of Carmelites, Church of Nossa Senhora de Monte, Church of St. Lucia, Hospital of Lazarus and Church of St. Thomas. To the south of the Convent of St. Francis Assisi was the Terreiro dos Gallos or cockpit square on which stands the buildings of Basilica of Bom Jesus, Chapel of St. Francis Xavier and the Professed House of Jesuits. To the west of the Bom Jesus is the Convent of São Joao de Deus. A road passing towards the west from the square of St. Francis cuts across Holy Hill where the tower of the Church of St. Augustine is seen and in front of it is the Nunnery of St. Monica. In the western extremity of the hill is the Chapel of Our Lady of the Rosary. 

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