Last Updated on December 11, 2020 by Augustin Fernandes
St. Augustine Church Goa was once the most remarkable Church in Goa, seen standing proudly on the hill of Monte Santo (Holy Hill).
This magnificent piece of ancient architecture was the site of the monastery of the Augustinian order, which was attached to the enormous church of Nossa Senhora da Graca (Our Lady of Grace).
However, the prominent figure of the St. Augustine Church Goa, is perhaps the largest construction in Goa, fell into ruin, and all that remains today is the renowned St. Augustine Tower, which was one of the four towers of the church that stood along with the main structure.
St. Augustine Church Goa is declared as a world heritage site in 1986, the ruins of this church now attract tourists from around the globe, who visit the site with sheer delight at the sight of this magnificent tower which remains standing tall till today.
History of St. Augustine Church Goa
St. Augustine Church Goa originally consisted of a complex, combining a church, a chapel, along with a convent, with dining rooms, all built by the friars of the First Augustinian Order, who arrived in Goa in the year 1572.
The Church and its surroundings were initially built with the locally available stone known as ‘laterite stone.’ The initial building of the Church was massive in size and was almost forty-six meters in height having four stories.
The famous ‘Tower’ which remains today was meant to serve as a belfry, and the Church had eight richly adorned chapels and four altars and a convent with numerous cells attached to it.
The construction of this magnificent masterpiece began more than 400 years ago and was finished between the years 1597 to 1602. The main architectural genius behind the making of the St. Augustine Church is said to be an Italian person.
Structure and Background of St. Augustine Church Goa
When you stepped into the church back in its prime days, the visitor would first have a glimpse of the grand figure of the high altar in front, with its large gilt tabernacle sheltered within an arch, through a screen of arched piers.
Vestiges of most of these piers were visible until recently; they supported a spacious choir which could have accommodated a large number of Augustinian monks.
The central part of the St. Augustine Church Goa, now lies open to the moonlit sky, since the majority of the structure collapsed.
Space here is used for gatherings conducted by people and is still considered a holy land by many.
The church was abandoned in 1835 due to the repressive policies of the Portuguese government, which resulted in the eviction of many religious orders from Goa.
St. Augustine Church Goa, fell into neglect and the vault collapsed in 1842. The church’s demise began with the collapse of this vault.
The body of the church was soon destroyed, but the facade remained intact.
The St. Augustine Church Goa had a huge bell which was later moved in 1871 to the Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception in Panjim, where it remains and can be seen and heard today.
In 1931, the facade and half the tower fell, followed by more sections in 1938 leaving only half the tower that is seen and visited by thousands of tourists today.
Places to visit near St. Augustine Church Old Goa
If you’ve been through our other articles and blogs you will find out that there are a number of different beautiful and historic sites for tourists to visit around Old Goa.
So if you want to experience unique historical and architectural sites, I would highly recommend you visit Old Goa, as it is the best place to truly get to know the background of where Goa has grown from.
Some of the other major attractions in Old Goa include;
Basilica of Bom Jesus Church
Basilica of Bom Jesus, the ancient, historical Portuguese Church located in ‘Old Goa’, was India’s first known Basilica.
This church is loved by the locals as well as the tourists who especially travel to Old Goa to have a look at this famous Basilica.
Se Cathedral Church Old Goa
Se Cathedral Church of Old Goa is one of the oldest and biggest churches to be seen in Asia. The construction of this magnificent masterpiece began in 1562 and was completed in the year 1619.Se Cathedral Church
Church of St. Francis of Assisi
The grand landmark of the church of St. Francis of Assisi has a unique and special aura, mainly due to its perfectly designed structure.
The Chapel of St. Catherine
The Chapel of St. Catherine 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.
Museum of Christian Art
The Museum of Christian Art is situated in the heart of ‘Old Goa’, a place famous for having religious history and crowned with many important religious monuments.
Archaeological Museum of Old Goa
The convent, adjoining the church of St. Francis of Assisi, was converted into a museum and was set up by the Archaeological Survey of India in 1965.
Church of St. Cajetan Old Goa
The spectacular and beautiful Church of St. Cajetan, lies about half a kilometer away to the northeast of the Se Cathedral.
The Viceroy’s Arch Old Goa
The archway into Old Goa, known as the Viceroy’s Arch, was erected by Vasco da Gama’s grandson, ‘Francisco da Gama’, who became viceroy in 1597
If you’d like to find out more about the other tourist sites in Old Goa, I suggest you read our articles on all these places mentioned above as well. This will help you get a better understanding of your visit to Old Goa, before coming here.
How to get to 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.
St. Augustine Church Goa is a very unique and quaint place, where tourist will get to see and learn and admiring the beautiful pieces of historical structures.
Old Goa is a place where families and their children can enjoy the feeling of what it was like to be a part of the Indo-Portuguese period.
On your visit to Old Goa, you won’t just be exposed to one beautiful site. However, you will find several incredible and breathtaking masterpieces all around Old Goa.
We hope you found the information provided above useful, and we do expect to see you in Goa soon!