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Shubhyatra >> Goa Yatra >> Church of St. Francis of Assisi


Location : Old Goa
Built In : 1661
Architectural Style : Baroque & Manuline with Tuscan exteriors
What To See : Carved interiors, Gilded altar and Archaeological museum

The Church of St. Francis of Assisi - Portraying A Divine Beauty

The Church of St. Francis of Assisi
The Church of St. Francis of Assisi

"It is one of the best Churches in Goa, with a roof curiously adorned with fretwork and it is like one entire mass of gold, there being so much of this battle for its altars."

-- Gemelli Careri, 1695

Among the most outstanding churches in Old Goa is that of St. Francis of Assisi, constructed contiguously in 1531 for the Franciscan friars. The lime-plastered laterite blocked structure, nestling beside the former palace of the Archbishop contains, perhaps, the most elegant work of religious art of the seventeenth century. Interestingly, it is amongst the few early 16th century relics of purely Portuguese architecture which you find in the east. During the zenith of its glory and magnificence, it was applauded as the richest and most beautiful church in the world. Due to unknown reasons, the Church of St. Francis of Assisi had to be demolished in 1661 but was later rejuvenated through voluntary contributions. Today, it stands majestic with its carved gates and gorgeous coloumns as one of the most visited churches in Old Goa.

Lose Yourself In A Hallowed Style

Nowhere can you find such impeccable blend of intricate architecture. The exterior facade of the Church bears an impressive aroma of the Tuscan order while the main doorway is made in the Manueline style, saved from the earlier church that stood in its place. Standing apart, the main altar breathes the Baroque signatures with profound Corinthian features. All the walls have murals portraying the life of St. Francis of Assisi. The internal buttress walls, segregating the chapels and supporting the gallery on top, have frescoes showing awe-inspiring floral designs. Walk inside the voluminous nave and you will be amazed to see the profusion of gold plate, going hand in hand with myriad colours, making the interior of the entire church look like a gargantuan painting resting over inscribed tombstones paving the floor. The church has one gilded main altar and eight side altars of which only three remains today.

After the church has been abandoned, to prevent the peeling off of the murals, the interior was white-washed sometime in the last century. Extensive restoration work has now been undertaken by the church authorities. With the careful removal of the whitewash, the earlier murals which have gone virgin over the pages of history, have now been unveiled. Their unparalleled beauty is a measure of the intermingling of Christian and Indian arts with Indian motifs, like the lotus, sprawled everywhere.

Inside The Church of St. Francis of Assisi
The Church of St. Francis of Assisi From Inside

Take A Leap Into The Museum

Remember to visit the Archaeological Museum, established in the convent in 1964. The grand galleria houses an eclectic collection of 60 portraits of the Portuguese viceroys and governers of Goa. Wander around the spacious corridors and you can see appealing exhibits like the statue of Albuquerque, a model of Vasco da gama's Sao Gabriel in which he sailed to India in 1498 and the bronze statue of St. Catherine from the Viceroy's Arch. One can also find whiffs of Hindu culture in the basalt stone statues of Vishnu and standing Surya, both dating back to the Kadamba period and other artifacts of historical importance.

Drive Your Way

This sacred site of worship is attached to the Se Cathedral in Old Goa. This serene, secluded patch of virgin land is situated on the banks of the Mandovi River in east Tiswadi Taluka in Central Goa. Drive comfortably on NH 4A, which begins as the Ribander Causeway, runs east along the Mandovi River, through the rustic and continues south-east to Ponda. For more tourist related information contact GTDC, Old Goa Tourist Hotel, behind Police Station, near Gandhi statue. The Basilica is open from 9 am-12:30 pm and 3-6:30 pm, so take care of your timings.

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Top 5 Highlights of Church of St. Fransis of Assisi

St. Fransis Assisi Church

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