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Património Cultural
World Heritage

Churches and Convents of Goa


The state of Goa is located on the west coast of India, and is bounded by the Indian Ocean.
Afonso de Albuquerque, the first viceroy of India, conquerred Goa in 1510. However, there is very few evidence of this first period of Portuguese domination, as only the portal of the Church of Saint Francis of Assisi and the Church of Our Lady of the Rosary, two examples of Manueline architecture, subsist to this day.
Goa reached its heyday between the 16th and the 17th centuries when a number of imposing religious and civil buildings were raised.
The built heritage of Goa reflects an encounter of two cultures: the European and the Asian. Buildings are inspired on the Western architectural design but when it comes to decoration, they preserve the Asian method, taste and luxury. From paintings to sculptures, decorative arts to furniture, exotic materials are used (ivory, mother pearl, semi-precious stones and others) reflecting the originality of the Indo-Portuguese art.

Out of the built heritage of Old Goa testifying to the presence of the Portuguese, there is essentially religious architecture, as most palaces and estates were lost due to adverse weather conditions. Among the civil buildings of the time, emphasis goes to the Viceroys Fortress Palace, the Archbishop’s Palace and the Powder House dating from the 16th century.
The sacred character of the religious buildings contributed decisively for their preservation by native populations. Old Goa’s religious architecture consists of monuments built between the second half of the 16th century and the 17th century, corresponding to the peak of the Portuguese Empire in the East.
The See Cathedral of Goa, begun in 1562, follows the typology of the See of Portalegre in Portugal.
The Church of Our Lady of Grace was founded by Augustinian friars between 1597 and 1602.
These two temples were used as a reference for subsequent construction of religious buildings all across India.
The Church of Bom Jesus, begun in 1594, the Church of Our Lady of the Divine Providence, of the Theatine Order, and the Church of Saint Francis of Assisi, dating from the 17th century, are also examples of Renaissance and Mannerist architecture in Old Goa.
Capela do Monte, standing on top of a hill, dates from the end of the 16th century. Its isolate location seems to have contributed for prerserving its original design


Carita, Hélder, Palácios de Goa. Modelos e Tipologias de Arquitectura Civil Indo-Portuguesa, Lisboa, Quetzal Editores, 1995.

Azevedo, Carlos de, A Arte de Goa, Damão e Diu, Pedro de Azevedo – CNC Descobrimentos, 1992.

Telles, Ricardo Michael, Igrejas, Capelas, Conventos e Palácios na Velha Cidade de Goa, Nova Goa, 1931.

Gomes, Paulo Varela, “Capela do Monte, Velha Goa”, in Pedra e Cal, “Património Religioso e Lugares sagrados”, nº 38, Lisboa, GECORPA, April, May, June 2008, pp.18-20

Chicó, Mário T., “Arte Cristã”, in Monumentos da Índia Portuguesa – Exposição de Fotografias, Évora, s. ed., 1956, pp. 9-15.

Azevedo, Carlos de, “Arte Hindú e Muçulmana”, in Monumentos da Índia Portuguesa – Exposição de Fotografias, Évora, s. ed., 1956. pp. 16-18.