>Travel Pictures



Tuesday - Old Goa

A family week in Goa - Sunday - Monday - Tuesday - Wednesday - Thursday - Friday - Saturday
Tuesday was our planes, trains, and automobiles day - except in our case it was feet, buses, and motorcycles. We got ourselves out of the Anjuna area and headed to Old Goa. Many of the big important buildings from the 17th and 18th centuries have been reconstructed, and the whole area has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site, so we figured we needed to see it.

Nowadays Goa is the name of an Indian province, so saying "I'm going to Goa" is as specific as "I'm going to California." But back in the day, Goa was the capital city under the Portuguese - a major river port and religious/government center. Unfortunately for the town, the river silted up and the big ships couldn't make the trip any more. So the capital was moved to another town, and Goa fell into disuse and disrepair.

One of the big draws is at the Bom Jesus ("Good Jesus," just like Bombay is "Good Bay") cathedral, where pilgrims line up to see the 'miraculously' preserved body of St. Francis of Xavier. He's not quite as famous as the St. Francis from Assisi, but his body made quite a stir when it was dug up 4 years after his death showing no sign of decomposition. There are bits and pieces of his body at scattered places around the world, but most of him is here. That's him in the glass case above (head on the right side).

Right across the street is the Se Cathedral, which is touted as the largest cathedral in Asia. It was built with 2 bell towers, but one has collapsed and the other has some pretty serious structural support. Compared with some of the European churches, these are fairly plain on the inside, but serious monsoon considerations had to be made when deciding on the decorations.

The woodwork (and blinking lights) is well done, and pilgrims from all over the world (like these Vietnamese) travel to Old Goa to pray at the shrines.

Directly behind the Se Cathedral is the convent and church of St. Francis of Assisi. An interesting holdover from the past is the use of shells in some of the windows. Shaved mother-of-pearl is translucent, and is put in the shutters to let light in as a substitute for glass.
And the cannons are a big draw (for all of us except Alea, who didn't want her picture taken, but she was the photographer for the one of mom and dad!)

The Chapel of St. Catherine is next to the St. Francis of Assisi church, and was the original house of worship in the area - erected in 1510 - until its huge neighbors were built. It is a pretty plain little chapel, but very peaceful.

Just down to road was the Church of St. Cajetan - patterned after the St. Peter's Cathedral in Rome - with more gorgeous carvings (as well as a breeze from the open doors that felt simply heavenly on a hot and sticky day)
All sorts of neat things could be glimpsed through the trees surrounding the area - there's the church, and look at the bananas!!
Wandering just outside from the church was the last standing lintel of the "Mohammedans" palace. When the Portuguese moved into the area, they dismantled the (reportedly) beautiful fortress, temple, mosque, and palace to use them as building material for their own town and churches. Walking to the river, we also passed under the arch through which most of the transported goods were delivered.

After all that sight-seeing during the hottest part of the day, we settled in for a dinner in Anjuna rather than on the beach, and watched the Diwali lights come up around us. While a bit more 'intense' in terms of travel and heat, we have to chalk up today as another success in our quest for a perfect vacation.

A family week in Goa - Sunday - Monday - Tuesday - Wednesday - Thursday - Friday - Saturday
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