Velha Goa or Old Goa rose as the second capital of the Bijapur Kingdom though all that remains of that era today are pieces of the Gateway, part of the wall that surrounded the Sultan's palace.
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Goa culture travel, The Portuguese colonization of Goa with Alfonso de Albuquerque’s victory over the Sultan's forces also began here.
Old Goa tour - It then served as the Portuguese capital of Goa until 1843 and from the mid 16th century onwards, the Christian Doctrine began to be spread from here by St. Francis Xavier.
The ruins of the Towers of St. Augustine are located near the St. Augustine church. They originally consisted of eight chapels, a convent and one of the best libraries in Goa, which decayed because because they were abandoned in 1835 due to religious intolerance and persecution.
The Basilica of Bom Jesus has been declared a World Heritage Site. It contains the remains of St Francis Xavier, Goa's patron saint who founded the Jesuit order.
Goa culture travel - Francis Xavier was a missionary whose body is claimed to be miraculously preserved even till now, without the use of any chemicals.
The body’s right hand was removed and taken by the Jesuits in Japan, part of his right arm sent to Rome in 1615 where it is idolized in the 'Gesu.' It is kept in a silver casket with 3 locks, the keys being with the Governor, the Archbishop and the Convent Administrator.
The Se Cathedral, dedicated to St Catherine, is the largest church in Goa. Its construction began in 1562 under the reign of King Dom Sebastiao though it was finally completed by 1652. The church is built in the Portuguese Gothic Style with a Tuscan
exterior and Corinthian interior. It has twin towers though one was struck by lightning. The remaining tower contains 5 bells including the Golden Bell, one of the largest in Goa.
Goa culture travel, The Church of the St Francis of Assisi was built by eight Franciscan Friars in 1517. It has carved woodwork, murals with scenes from the life of St Francis and the floor is made mostly of gravestones that date from the 16th century. The convent behind this church is now an archaeological museum with portraits of Portuguese viceroys, and sculptures from Hindu temples, amongst other things, on display.
The Viceroy's Arch was built at the end of the 16th century to commemorate the centennial of Vasco da Gama's discovery of the sea route to India. His grandson, Francisco da Gama was Viceroy then and after each new Viceroy took charge, the monument was decorated. There is a figure of a lady with a sword in one hand and a book in the other standing over a figure with his head on a bent arm. This arch was rebuilt in 1954.
An exposition of the body is conducted every 10 years, since 1859, the next one being in January 2005. Millions of pilgrims come to view the miracle of the saint’s body.