Church of Saint Aleixo

Church of Saint Aleixo

Calangute, Goa, India

Religious Architecture

The original church of the Franciscan rectory was built in 1595. It underwent a thorough renovation from 1741 to 1765, giving the Church of Saint Aleixo its current form. The year 1765 thus saw construction of its domed main façade, which nevertheless kept the three-entryway type characteristic of the Franciscans, augmented by blind doors in the tower sections. From the typological standpoint, the church maintained the single nave with false transept, tile roof and high choir over the entrance. The 18th century work has side elevations articulated by an order of Tuscan pillars and two levels of semicircular niches with windows; the lower ones bear shell forms. The chancel also has shell niches as well as a bold Gothic-appearing groin vault with penetrations built in 1916, perhaps to replace the original coffered barrel vault, which would have been kept in the 18th century renovation. The domed main façade faces east toward the old path from Saligao, now a road, and the flood plain which in 2008 was still untouched by the frenetic construction that has led to the disappearance of almost all of the onetime village of Calangute, situated to the west between the church and the beach. The parish complex articulated by arched patio is still well-preserved next to the north side of the church. The covered cemetery to the south, at a right angle with respect to the church’s main façade, closes the still intact court on that side.

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