Churches and Convents of Goa
These monuments of Goa exerted great influence in the 16th-18th centuries on the development of architecture, sculpture, and painting by spreading forms of Manueline, Mannerist and Baroque art throughout the countries of Asia where Catholic missions were established. In so doing they illustrate the work of missionaries in Asia.
The Portuguese explorer Alfonso de Albuquerque conquered Goa in 1510 and the Portuguese ruled the territory until 1961. The colony of Goa, which has its centre in Old Goa, became the capital of the vast eastern Portuguese Empire, sharing the same civic privileges as Lisbon. By 1635, the successive waves of Europeans brought about the inevitable decline of Goa.
In 1542 the Jesuits, who were driven by the ardour of medieval crusaders, arrived in the city and Francis Xavier, one of the founders of the Society of Jesus, rapidly became the patron saint of Goa. The churches in Old Goa aimed to awe the local population into conversion and to impress upon them the superiority of the foreign religion. The facades were accordingly made tall and lofty and the interiors were magnificent, with twisted Bernini columns, decorated pediments, profusely carved and gilded altars, and colourful wall paintings and frescoes.