SAINT CATHERINE CHURCH
Location : Old Goa, Panjim, Goa
Built In : 1510
Built By : Afonso de Albuquerque
Famous As : The first church built in Old Goa to commemorate his victory
The Chapel of St. Catherine
Among the numerous churches dotting the palm-fringed land
of Old Goa, the dainty, diminutive Chapel of St. Catherine stands alpine
because of its distinct Renaissance features. Nestling at a stone's throw
to the south of the Church of St. Francis of Assisi, this pale-yellow
structure of laterite blocks caresses a tower on either side of the
edifice. The original facade was built by Afonso de Albuquerque in 1510 as
a mud structure to commemorate his first footprints in the town. A few
years later, a stone chapel replaced the thatched structure, and a new
altar was placed by the then Governor George Cabral in 1550. One can still
see the engraved slab that reads..
"Here in this place was the doorway through which Governor Afonso de Albuquerque entered and took this city from the Mohammadans on the day of St. Catherine in the year 1510 at the expenses of his Highness."
Protected by the Archaeological Survey of India, the elegant Chapel of St. Catherine portrays marvellous Renaissance features. Be it the square towers that flank the three-storeyed facade or the semicircular niche above the window that lodges a statue of St. Catherine, every indefinite article breathes a definite medieval aroma in the church. However, the sacred hall subscribes to a simple plan; cruciform shape with a square apse in its heart. Due to its immense popularity, the chapel was restored in 1951, with the savvy of veterean Portuguese architect Baltazar de Castro, when special attention was given to the vault and sacristy. Walk inside the nave and you can see four crosses placed over the Church roof and a Gothic one over the main altar, that create an impressive sight.
The Chapel of St. Catherine is situated next to and just south of the Church of St. Francis of Assisi and 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 sacred hall is open from 6 am-6 pm.
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