Churches and Convents of Goa

Churches and Convents of Goa
UNESCO World Heritage Site

The Churches and Convents of Goa are monuments inscribed by UNESCO under the World Heritage List in 1986 as cultural property, under criteria (ii),(iv) and (vi), which were built by the Portuguese colonial rulers of Goa between the 16th and 18th centuries. These monuments are mainly in the former capital of Velha Goa. Velha Goa is also known as Goem, Pornem Gõy, Adlem Gõi, Old Goa or Saibachem Gõi, where Saib or Goencho Saib refers to Saint Francis Xavier. The most significant of these monuments is the Basilica of Bom Jesus, which enshrines the tomb containing the relics of St. Francis Xavier. These monuments of Goa, known as the "Rome of the Orient", were established by different Catholic religious orders, from November 25, 1510 onward. There were originally 60 churches of which some of the surviving monuments in the city of Velha Goa are: the Saint Catherine's Chapel (where one of the first, probably only beside the Angediva Island, Latin rite mass in Asia, was held on Saint Catherine's feast day, November 25, 1510); the Church and Convent of Saint Francis of Assisi; the Sé Catedral de Santa Catarina dedicated to Saint Catherine of Alexandria; the Jesuit Borea Jezuchi Bajilika or Basílica do Bom Jesus; Igreja de São Francisco de Assis (also known as Asisachea Sanv Fransiskachi Igorz); the Theatine Igreja da Divina Providência (São Caetano) (also known as San Kaitanachi Igorz or the church of Saint Cajetan and its seminary (resembles Basilica Papale di San Pietro in Vaticano); Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Rosário (also known as Ruzai Saibinnichi Igorz (Church of Our Lady of the Rosary)) and Igreja de Santo Agostinho (also known as Sanv Agustineachi Igorz (Church of Saint Augustine) (only the belfry stands today and some graves, including the Georgian Orthodox Church Saint, Saint Ketevan, who was also a queen). These monuments were forerunners in establishing an ensemble of the Manueline, Mannerist and Baroque art forms in the Asian region. The monuments are built in laterites and the walls are plastered with limestone mortar mixed with broken shells. For this reason, the monuments need constant maintenance to prevent deterioration due to monsoon climatic conditions.

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