Goa is mentioned as early as the 3rd century BC as part of the Maurya Empire. In 1310 it fell to the Muslims, but in 1370 it was absorbed by Vijayanagara. In 1469 it was conquered by the Bahmani Sultans of Gulbarga and later passed to the Bahmani Sultans of Gulbarga of Bijapur. The Portuguese enclave was carved out by Alfonso D'Albuquerque. By the early 17th century Portuguese naval supremacy had been displaced by the English and their commercial pre-eminence was challenged by the English, French and Dutch. Goa ultimately fell to British hands in 1808.
As a result of these various occupations and settlements, the historical legacy of Goa can be seen etched in the various historical and religious monuments of Goa. Thus there are a number of forts, churches, museums, palaces, mansions and historic sites which mirror the culture and heritage of Goa. The unique features of the monuments in Goa include central staircases, balconies upstairs and verandahs with a central courtyard. The buildings have been adorned with blue and red colours and the windows with glass or oyster shells.
Some Popular Historical monuments of Goa
A number of monuments of Goa, especially the churches and convents, were built during the sixteenth and seventeenth century AD. These display a fusion of Renaissance and Baroque style and have been built using laterite and lime plaster. Many of these monuments are considered as UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Basilica of Bom Jesus
Basilica of Bom Jesus is a Roman Catholic basilica listed under UNESCO World Heritage Site. The basilica holds the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier. Construction work on the church began in 1594 and was consecrated in May 1605 by the archbishop, Dom Fr. Aleixo de Menezes. It is one of the Seven Wonders of Portuguese Origin in the World.
Aguada Fort is a well-preserved seventeenth-century Portuguese fort, along with a lighthouse, standing on Sinquerim Beach. This ASI protected Monument was originally constructed in 1612 to guard against the Dutch. It was a reference point for the vessels coming from Europe.
Se Cathedral is a Latin Rite Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Goa and Daman and the seat of the Patriarch of the East Indies. It is part of the World Heritage Site. The Se Cathedral was built in 1510 to commemorate the victory of the Portuguese under Afonso de Albuquerque over a Muslim army.
Chapora Fort, located beside the Chapora river was originally built by Muslim ruler Adil Shah and was called Shahpura. Portuguese altered the name to Chapora. The fort changed hands several times after Portuguese acquired Bardez.
St. Augustine Tower
St. Augustine Tower is a ruined church complex located in Old Goa. The church was between 1597 and 1602 by Augustinian friars and is part of the World Heritage Site. It had four towers of which only one remains.
Church of St Francis of Assisi
Church of St Francis of Assisi was built in 1661 by the Portuguese in the Portuguese Viceroyalty of India. The church along with a convent was established by eight Portuguese Franciscan friars who landed in Goa in 1517.
Immaculate Conception Church
Built in 1541, the Church of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception is located in the town center of Panaji. The chapel was rebuilt in 1619 into the church that stands there today. The architecture of the present church is a beautiful blend of the Portuguese-Baroque and Goan styles.
Safa Shahouri Masjid
Safa Shahouri Masjid, located at Ponda is a sixteenth century Islamic Monument believed to have been built in 1560 by the Bijapuri ruler Ibrahim Adil Shah I. The mosque has a complex consisting of garden and fountains. The terracotta tile roof of the rectangular prayer hall is a unique feature of architecture.
Church of St. Cajetan
Church of St. Cajetan, also known as the Church of Divine Providence, is a church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Goa and Daman located in Old Goa. The church was completed in 1661 and is part of the World Heritage Site.
Reis Magos Fort
Reis Magos Fort is surrounded by sturdy laterite walls studded with typically Portuguese turrets. It was erected in 1551 to protect the narrowest point at the mouth of the Mandovi estuary. It was enlarged subsequently on different occasions and finally re-erected in 1707.
Cabo De Rama Fort
Cabo De Rama Fort is a medieval hill fort on the coast of Canacona, Goa. It switched hands several times between Hindu and Muslim monarchs. The present structure with its walls, moats, ramparts turrets, chapel and cannons are remnants of the Portuguese era. The Portuguese equipped it with 21 guns and installed military barracks, a commander's quarter and a chapel.
Corjuem Fort, situated in the Aldona village on the river island of Corjuem was a military fortress. This fort constructed in 1705 by the Portuguese, as a defense against Maratha aggression.
Mahadev Temple in Tambdi Surla
It is a 12th-century Shaivite temple in the Kadamba style dedicated to Lord Shiva and an active place of Hindu worship. It is an ASI protected Monument of National Importance in Goa. It is made from basalt carried across the mountains from the Deccan plateau.
Fort Tiracol was originally crudely built by Khem Sawant Bhonsle, the Raja of Sawantwadi, in the 17th century. The fort initially consisted of 12 guns, a barrack and a chapel.
Chapel of St Anthony
Chapel of St. Anthony, built in the 17th century by the Portuguese, is dedicated to the patron saint of the Portuguese Navy and the Army, St. Anthony.
Mormugao Fort is one of the top coastal forts built in the early 17th century by the Portuguese to protect the Margoa Port. Overlooking the Varca Beach, the grand fort commands a fabulous view of the scenic landscape and the beautiful Arabian Sea.
St. Andrew's Church
St. Andrew's Church was first built in 1570 and inaugurated with pompous celebrations. The original building of the church was later destroyed by Adil Shah’s soldiers in 1578. The present building is a result of the architectural amalgamation over the years since 1594.
Cabo Raj Niwas
Cabo Raj Niwas is a residential palace and fort situated in Dona Paula, Goa which serves as the official residence of the Governor of Goa. Earlier, during the Portuguese regime, it was the Official Residence of the Governors-General, which was then known as "Palacio do Cabo". At one corner there is a beautiful Chapel which is about 500 years old. This palace is said to be built between the 16th and 17th century.