The Chapel of St. Catherine old Goa is part of the “UNESCO World Heritage Site” of Churches & Convents in Goa. It is located in the western side of St. Francis of Assisi Church and is dedicated to St. Catherine. It was built by Alfonso De Albuquerque in 1510 when he defeated the local Muslim ruler Adil Shah. That day in history was named the St. Catherine’s Day, on 25th November 1510.
Pope Paul III later granted the chapel cathedral status. It was enlarged in 1550 by the Portuguese Governor George Cabral and rebuilt in 1952 using laterite blocks.
Unlike most other pure white structures in Goa, the Chapel of St. Catherine has been built with a color of brown and white in its facade. As a visitor, it would be interesting to take note of the fact that the Se Cathedral, the Church of St. Francis of Assisi, the Archaeological Museum, the Portrait Gallery and the Chapel of St. Catherine, stretching from the east to the west are all situated in the same compound and are all maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India.
Structure of Chapel of St. Catherine
The structure of the St. Catherine Chapel has a tower on either side of its facade, and the interior is plain with only an altar. On one side of the Chapel is a stone inscription in Portuguese. The Chapel has rectangular window panes of Old Portuguese styled dressed in mica shells. As you enter the chapel, you will see a statue of Our Lady. There is also a beautiful altar dedicated to St. Catherine upon which stands another statue of Our Lady of Piety. It houses a beautifully gilded altar, various artworks, paintings depicting the story of St Catherine of Alexandria and an art gallery.
It is the second or the third oldest Christian structure in the entire continent of Asia. The Church of St. Francis of Assisi at Old Goa lies next to it. Although the Chapel is not functional now, its historical significance goes back to the inaugural year of the Portuguese rule.
The Portuguese Governor George Cabral, put up an inscribed slab, which translates to: “Here on this spot and by door entered the Governor Afonso de Albuquerque reconquered this city from Adil Shah on the day dedicated to St. Catherine in the year 1510 in whose honour and memory Governor Jorge Cabral raised this house in the year 1550.” Although The Chapel of St. Catherine is protected by the Archaeological Survey of India and is open All Days, 7:30 am to 6:00 pm.
How to reach Old Goa
The fastest route to Old Goa is by getting off at the Karmali Railway Station, which is 3km away from the main area of Old Goa.
Panaji (Capital of Goa) is also very close by and is 9km away. You can reach Old Goa from Panaji by bus.
Catch a direct bus from the main Panaji Bus stand (Panjim-Ponda/ Panjim Old Goa Bus) which will take you directly to Old Goa.
The Dabolim Airport in Goa is 30 km away from Old Goa, and can be reached by bus or by Taxi in about an hour. Getting to Old Goa from the airport may result in you having to get down at Panaji, and then from Panaji catch another bus to Old Goa.
Old Goa is also pretty close to the other tourist beach areas in Goa, like Calangute and Candolim, which is 20km away
Places to Visit near Chapel of St. Catherine
The Other Old Portuguese Churches and monuments in Old Goa include;
- The Church Of St. Francis of Assisi
- Basilica of Bom Jesus – Old Goa Church
- The Viceroys Arch
- St. Augustine Church -Tower
- St. Cajetan Church
- Archeological Museum of Goa
- The Wax World Museum.
All these sites show you a different side of Goa, which every tourist needs to see.