Goa [Velha Goa/Old Goa]

Lat: 15.501177777778000, Long: 73.913547222222000

Goa [Velha Goa/Old Goa]

Goa, India

Historical Background and Urbanism

Old Goa is largely a mystery. Enchanted by myth, by the dark side of its history of paradoxes invoked by the serene majesty of ruin. In the text which introduces this part of the volume much was said about its possible foundation, but basically everything can be summed up in a single phrase: Goa, capital of the Estado da Índia or the Portuguese Empire, was not and could not have been a happy city there, yet Old Goa exists as a monumental vestige and holder of memories. Old Goa by itself recalls all that history, which largely makes the writing of this entry a thankless task, as the endless amount of information is spread through the immense bibliography and the available documentation and images, some already mentioned in various parts of the volume, namely in the introductory texts and following entries. The site is a dense undulating palm grove above the exuberant topography that descends in a shell shape down to the age-old level ground and dock areas by the banks of the Mandovi River. The central area concentrates most of the old city’s buildings (overwhelmingly churches and convents) and is maintained as a broad esplanade whose urban treatment, due to an action planned in 1959, inherited little or nothing from the original road network. Nevertheless, when seen from afar, the larger buildings emerge above the effusive greenery that the hot humid atmosphere permeates with haze and filters in the afternoon hours. It was described as “six temples bleaching among the palms” by Tomás Ribeiro (1831-1902), cited in the report published in 1960 in the context of commemorations dedicated to Prince Henry the Navigator (Comemorações Henriquinas), and referenced in the bibliography. Old Goa’s landscape is just that: a group of desirably white churches set amidst the lush green of the tropics. Religious buildings were always the touchstone of Goa’s urbanism, existence and materiality and still are today, due to their quality, scale and quantity. They continually marked its image and accompanied its development, which delayed to the extreme the capital’s move to a more suitable site. And they remained after the city was abandoned and left to disappear under the forest growth, for Panaji was unable to attract them and was thus bereft of monumentality. Barring the religious buildings, in Old Goa little more is identifiable or visible from the bygone Goa oftentimes labelled the Rome of the Orient. The capital’s official move from Goa to Panaji (1843) – still under the agreeable formula of a ‘New Goa’ encompassing both as well as Ribandar – actually only occurred after the religious orders were abolished in the Portuguese world (1834). Those orders had always opposed and resisted the move, for not long beforehand they had invested in installations that were generally quite sumptuous. But its affirmation as the “head and main seat of the state which the Portuguese crown has in the Orient” and “universal fair and emporium for the whole Orient” (Livro das Cidades e Fortalezas…, 1582) by the 1530s and thus during the long governorship of Nuno da Cunha (1529-1538) did not occur according to the aims of the Padroado (also still being consolidated), but for geo-strategic reasons in which trade (commerce and its maritime routes) played a significant role. It also met military requirements and marked the new concern over territory throughout the Portuguese world that would only be noted several decades later. But all these arguments and information are summarised in the general and regional introductory texts in this volume; here we must focus on the case of the city itself, or rather, its ruin. To capture Goa from the Sultanate of Bijapur was one of the main objectives of the governance of Afonso de Albuquerque (1509-1515), during which Portuguese- dominated space in Asia expanded significantly beyond the initial area on the Malabar coast. His commitment and patronage left no doubt that he personally wished to develop it as the seat of Portuguese power in the Orient. Two conquest attempts were necessary. The first was on 17 February 1510, and had as a first reaction no more than a minor skirmish in Panaji. The medina was captured and occupied. But Bijapuri troops arrived to besiege the Portuguese, who on 31 May were forced to withdraw to the fleet, which was nevertheless held back by the monsoon and subject to continual attacks; it could only put to sea in mid-August. They returned on 25 November, the day of Saint Catharine of Alexandria, and in a few hours recaptured the city, occupying it with a diverse attitude, not just strengthening its defences but also expelling all Muslims and confiscating their goods. The latter would eventually resume their mercantile role in the port city, though not with the aim of supporting a Bijapuri return. The enormous defence effort involved a large number of military engineering works. It was the only way to resist the Bijapuri reaction, though decades passed before the island’ attained an acceptable atmosphere of security atmosphere and sovereignty was acquired over the surrounding territory of the Old Conquests (1543). The process was favourably affected by the Bijapur sultans’ involvement in internal struggles in the Deccan associated to the breakup of the Bahmani Sultanate. Although its medina was small, Goa was Bijapur’s second city and main port. It was founded precisely when Tiswadi Island, where it is situated, was integrated under Muslim Bahmani sovereignty in 1469. The territory’s old capital, Goa Velha, was in the southern part of the island, on the banks of the Zuari River. The new city’s site had been chosen by an interior sovereign for a small or medium size city. Advance works included a number of fortified structures by the river bar. In Panaji there was also a small palatial house. But Goa’s main defence against attacks from the sea was the distance to the bar more than ten kilometres away. The land defence was difficult – obviously irrelevant for the Bijapuris but crucial for the Portuguese – for it required major installations, especially at passage points such as Benastarim, which was only captured two years after the city’s conquest, thus stabilising domain over Tiswadi Island. Goa’s location thus went against the most elementary principles usually followed by the Portuguese, who sought sites near the sea with good land defences. Even the port did not have the best access or anchorage conditions for ships, a situation which worsened considerably with its progressive silting. In the end, and for the first time, rather than a port city the Portuguese conquered an island, a territory which could eventually serve as a bridgehead for another phase of establishment in Asia. In nearly a thousand kilometres of coast, Goa was the only direct geographic gateway for access through the Ghats range to India’s Deccan plateau. It was the shipment point for an intense and very profitable trade in horses from Persia, fundamental for the war efforts of the Muslim armies and, essentially, for its Hindu opponent, the kingdom of Vijayanagara. Goa thus offered many positive aspects, though its extraordinary urban growth over the next several decades was entirely unexpected. This was also because in the early period the main centre of Portuguese operations in Asia continued to be Kochi. The above serves to show just how far the conquered city was unsuited to the requisites of its Portuguese future. It was not a new Portuguese city, which like Kochi, Chaul, Vasai or Daman sprouted next to an existing one, but closer to the sea. That is, in Goa a new city next to the sea was not built, as in those places. It was a conquered city. Numerous documents, accounts and reports describe and prove this unsuitability, often in words as plain as the following, from the Comentários... by Garcia y Figueroa in 1617: “time with evident experience has shown what a bad choice [the Muslims] made, leaving the pleasant and healthy site of Goa Velha”. The natural health conditions couldn’t be worse, for the site was oppressive and pestilent, with little wind exposure, a situation only worsened by the population growth without infrastructures. The residents used many wells with polluted waters and left refuse wherever it suited them. On this point see, among others, the 1941 book by Germano Correia, which gathered almost unbelievable information regarding mortality from the frequent epidemics of cholera and smallpox, and the very frequent death of viceroys, inquisitors, archbishops and other high-ranking civil servants and nobles. On the other hand, the relative tolerance of religions and customs implemented by Afonso de Albuquerque, later negotiated and set down in the famous and controversial Charter of the Uses and Customs of the Gaucars – the so-called Foral Mexia promulgated by King João III on 16 September 1526, but prepared by Afonso Mexia, controller of the treasury in India – was followed by a gradual rise in fundamentalist zeal in line with the ideological consolidation under way in 16th century Europe, of which the Inquisition is emblematic. As if this weren’t enough, the Muslim victory over Vijayanagara in 1566 meant that “our state [was] much hurt, because the major trade was with this kingdom [...] and the Goa custom house saw its income so affected that from then to now the residents of Goa began to decline,” states Diogo de Couto in the eighth of is Decades of Asia. Goa’s existence as a city was thus as splendorous as it was fleeting, and could be measured at about a century and a half, most of which in open decline. It was practically abandoned by the time the Marquis of Pombal launched the frustrated plan to restore it in 1774. Yet its monumental aspect, due to the large religious complexes, was paradoxically achieved from the last decades of the 16th century on and essentially in the early 17th century, or rather, when the decay was as obvious as it was irreversible. Ironically, its rise and fall paralleled those of the Estado da Índia itself; for this reason Old Goa is also its main material symbol. The gradual dismantling of Old Goa to make way for Panaji/New Goa (excellently described in the 1960 plan-report and referenced in the bibliography) corresponds to the dismantling of the First Empire that finally succumbed with the emancipation of Brazil in 1822, giving way to a new one based in Africa. And dismantling is the term, due to the widespread practice of reusing materials in Panaji, especially with the encouragement given by Viceroy Diogo de Sousa, Count of Rio Pardo (gov. 1816-21). Beyond the mistaken choice of site, girded by a moat and wall with four gates (one for each cardinal point) and slightly elliptical perimeter with a northeast abscess comprising the castle, the Bijapuri city was very small; its major axis (east-west) measured under 500 metres and the minor axis (north-south) just over 400 metres, over an area of around 20 hectares. The bastioned perimeter of Chaul, for example, has nearly 24 hectares, Daman 25 and Vasai 36, though in the latter the effectively urban area occupied only 24. In other words, Goa as conquered occupied an area of about two-thirds of what would soon be the area of the main cities of the Província do Norte. And this is not to compare with Kochi, which for reasons of its own had an exaggerated 54 hectares of walled area. From the morphological standpoint there is no reason to believe that the Bijapuri Goa’s internal structure had any regular geometric form, as it would inevitably have been maintained. Garcia y Figueroa refers to the all-encompassing whole and not just the original core, is once again quite clear in his Commentaries... (1617): “the city is totally disordered, disarranged and scattered, especially its extremities, with many groves of palms and other kinds of trees among the buildings; most of the streets are very twisted with neither refinement nor coordination, so that outside of what little exists inside its old walls, the rest looks more like a populous cluster of houses among the trees than an ordered city.” As paradoxical as it seems, among the rich imagery associated to Goa we find no examples that enable us to clearly and reliably ascertain that urban fabric, nor even the landscape of the city when it had an urban life. This contingency of Portuguese artistic and visual culture is typical before the 18th century, in this case fatal because when it arrived Goa was no longer truly what it had been. The engraving inserted in the first volume of the Civitates Orbis Terrarum (edited by Braun and Hogenburg in Cologne in 1578) is totally imaginary, even the date (1509). The image by João de Castro in Route from Goa to Diu is suggestive but morphologically useless, like that of Jan Huygen van Linschoten (1596) which, besides a lack of provable detail, is entirely disproportionate. It nevertheless has a useful caption and important information about the buildings themselves. The same problem occurs in the Plantaforma da Cidade de Goa set out in O Lyvro da Plantaforma das Fortalezas da Índia by Manuel Godinho de Erédia (c. 1620). Since it has the most details and provides captions, it is the best instrument in our possession which, along with the current surveys of what little remains, allows us to persevere in a serious reconstitution of the urban fabric. The same cartographer left us two complementary maps from Goa (Tiswadi) Island, which include the outline of the walled periurban or suburban enclosure, which began to take on a systematic form in the 1560s. The subjacent survey in the three Pombaline plans drawn up from 1774 to 1777 also provides us an extremely rigorous plan configuration and localisation of the few buildings then remaining. For a rather naive picturesque overview, distorted and out of proportion though including the peripheral wall, see the report by António Bocarro and Pedro Barreto Resende from about 1635, taken from the album of the Évora Public Library to be included in that from the British Library. The Pombaline intent also left us detailed surveys of the Palace of the Viceroys and the Inquisition. In any case, there is a great deal of working material regarding the nolonger-existent architecture, including old photographs, drawings and engravings, among which those of Lopes Mendes stand out. The outline of the Islamic wall is nevertheless easy to follow, as some milestones still exist. Among the various steps taken when the city was captured was the repair of its defence system, strengthening it and increasing its height. A bypass was also made which cut off the space occupied by the castle. That structure was situated at the northeast end of the urban perimeter, a position that dominated the open ground between the walled perimeter and the port, somewhat like Lisbon’s Terreiro do Paço of the time and, like the Portuguese capital’s, still in the formation process. The work was overseen by the construction master Tomás Fernandes and described in good detail in the reports by Gaspar Correia and Fernão Lopes de Castanheda, which have nevertheless been interpreted in the sense of a clean-slated renovation of the urban space, which is not probable. It was not only not reasonable, but nor did it occur in any other known situation, nor can what resulted, as indicated above, be read as something planned. The only area likely to have been subject to major alterations, including along the wall, was the shoreline front, precisely where the walls were weakest. As with the new castle, and as otherwise usual in all Portuguese conquests since the nation was formed in the 12th century, the main structures were repaired and given other functions. The case of the church at Saint Francis’s Convent is particularly expressive; it is said to be built over an old mosque, although material or documental evidence is lacking. The Portuguese installed their residences here and there throughout the city, occupying for the most part, as is obvious, the higher quality houses left vacant by the Muslims who had been the dominant merchant group. In any case, and as happened in many Portuguese urban settlements in the Orient, the residential areas were characterised and separated more due to religious confessions than ethnic groups. It is nevertheless certain that the separation between those from the homeland kingdom and the native Christians was also noted. The main road access in both morphological terms and from the living standpoint was the Rua Direita, whose nearly half a kilometre linked the main gates of the Islamic wall, each with its interior and exterior open yards or squares: one, that of the Quay or Fortress, gave onto an open space with the main riverside quay – in 1597 it was renovated to become the Arch of the Viceroys; on the other side to the south stood the one of the Baçais (cattle market), next to which, in the interior, the Church and Chapel of the Misericórdia were built, lending their name to the square, as well as the Church of Our Lady of the Hill [Serra] with its guest-house and the Old Bazaar, a set of 48 stall arranged as a single unit around a square – a sort of market inspired by the Muslim fonduks, if not a reworked version of one. Outside the Muslim wall was the Square of the Old Pillory, which had ended up moving to a small square about 200 metres to the south. Seven roads converged on that square, which became the hub for growth outside the Goa medina, replacing or representing the central focus of the original Muslim core. Moving back inside, the Church of Our Lady of the Hill is noteworthy, as it was founded in 1513 by Afonso de Albuquerque in fulfilment of a vow made in times of hardship in the Red Sea; for a century it served as its founder’s own pantheon. It was located by the main gate of the Muslim wall and thus had a tower that could be used as a defence infrastructure. Some elements of the chancel survive and still have cemetery functions. The Rua Direita was also called the Rua dos Leilões [Auctions], a suggestive invocation of the intense commercial activity taking place there. The supposed uniformity of the architecture lining the street, based on a depiction of a small section of Misericórdia Square inserted in the work by Jan Huygen van Linschoten (1596) is denied by other accounts and also by the only remaining vestige, a doorframe with apparently Manueline decorative grammar and outline, which would have been the entrance to the Bull of the Crusade House. The axial nature and urban relevance indicated by its name, recurrent in Portuguese cities, was not accompanied by a regular urban arrangement of the streets which opened on either side, none of which were at right or even repeated angles. Halfway along the Rua Direita, one of those bystreets was no more than a passage leading west to the square known as the Terreiro do Sabaio, where Saint Catharine’s Parish Church was built in 1514, with its façade facing north. It was raised to cathedral status when the bishopric was created in 1534 and later replaced by the majestic building still standing today (then oriented eastward), whose construction begun in 1564 and continued until 1652. It is the biggest house of worship ever built by the Portuguese throughout the empire. Adjacent is the Palace of the Archbishops, located behind the Franciscan complex – the first installations of a religious order in the city, with the Theatines the only ones inside the medina. On the north side of that square was the Town Hall and the Royal Tobacco Store, while the Inquisition was on the south side, making the square a true institutional pole in the centre of Bijapur’s onetime medina. The Inquisition occupied the building that initially served as residence for the viceroys and governors; it had been the palace of the Sultan of Bijapur and was known as the Sabaio Palace. The Terreiro dos Vice-Reis, a plaza inside the gate at the north end of the Rua Direita, led eastward to the usual access to the Palace of the Viceroys or of the Fortress; on ceremonial occasions a staircase was used which rose directly from the terreiro do cais (quay plaza) on the west side of the wall gate. This palace was the result of a thorough reform undertaken in 1554 in the castle which Afonso de Albuquerque had ordered built over the Palace of Adil Khan [Hidalcão], of which the mouldings of a gate still stand. As can be seen in the next entry, Goa’s defence comprised a more extensive territorial arch with a perimeter of about 15 km. This made the defence structures based on the urban wall of Muslim origin obsolete and encompassed a number of religious structures, small proto-urban clusters or groups of buildings which are accounted for in a drawing made over a satellite photograph. The area of housing took advantage of this and eventually absorbed the wall. South of that plaza was the trunk, for on a street to the west was another judicial building, the aljube the prison for clergy. The Court of Appeal also faced the Terreiro dos Vice-Reis, which on its east side saw the emergence a short time later of the Theatine complex of Saint Cajetan with the still existent Church of Our Lady of Divine Providence. The entire institutional base of the city and hence the Estado da Índia was thus located along the Rua Direita, specifically in the two squares at its ends and extending to the Terreiro do Sabaio. The street was obviously a legacy of the Islamic-era souk, and was probably reordered under Portuguese rule. Here it must be noted that a first adaptation is verified, with indications that it followed by about two centuries what had been common during the Christian reoccupation of the current Portugal and Spain, i.e. the rational occupation of the main points and buildings with new infrastructures and symbols of power, while destroying existing structures as little as possible; subjection of the urban fabric to a reform that eliminated blockages, translating the adarves and dead ends (which the Islamic way of life requires) into streets. But over time some of the dwellings were most likely subject to major renovations, which changed the patio-house structure to the European-type plot, with house in front and yard/public area in back. Linschoten, among others, made this very clear in this description: “The city is quite covered with constructions, with houses and streets in the Portuguese manner, but a bit lower due to the heat. They all generally have gardens and orchards behind the houses, full of all sorts of Indian fruit.” The ordinary architecture thus derived from a synthesis of the cultures marking a presence. In some descriptions and images the house-type had two floors built of lime mortar and sand, and a tile roof. It was frequently painted with red and white washes. Pyrard de Laval in the 1610s provides us the best description of this. The façades were punctuated by windows with grilles and lattices; the upper floors had balconies with muxarabi screens. Polished oyster shells stood in for glass. It is nevertheless important to ascertain what those alterations were: certainly surgical, as they gave the medina the overall ambience of a construction yard. Along with work on the wall and the castle’s restructuring, the process led chroniclers such as Gaspar Correia and Fernão Lopes de Castanheda to describe a profound adaptation which has sometimes been read as being a wave of destruction followed by the building of a new, modern or Manueline city. Such was neither seen nor tried and is denied by the surviving urban morphology, which indicates no type of regular order inside the former Bijapuri medina. Basically, what was done in Goa was structurally and from the urban standpoint a medieval city, which its growth only confirmed. In this regard, it is also important to mention the well-known application in Goa of all rules, statutes, ordinances and benefices common to Lisbon. Indeed, never in all the Portuguese world did two cities simultaneously have so much in common, for in the First Empire system they functionally complemented each other. As in Lisbon, beyond the standardisation or reform of new urban infrastructures, it was the gradual uniformity of the architecture which by means of regulation endowed Goa with a Portuguese-style unity. And obviously, there is always that reference to the number of hills and the mistaken phrase whereby “whoever has seen Goa doesn’t have to see Lisbon”. It is significant that two or three decades later (1550-1560) an almost systematic renewal of the infrastructures ordered by Afonso de Albuquerque began. This led to a new and perhaps more thorough transformation of the urban grid. For example: the castle was converted into a palace, the palace into the Inquisition, the old Saint Catharine’s Parish Church into the huge Metropolitan See (cathedral) and the original and modest Franciscan convent into the large structure that stands today. This meant massive demolitions among adjacent buildings and also indelibly marked the surrounding area and urban landmarks. As mentioned above, this second reorganisation began parallel the city’s urban and commercial decline, when the mistaken choice of site was becoming epidemically evident. The city grew rapidly beyond the former Muslim medina. From the structural standpoint this happened to achieve two aims. The first was essentially utilitarian, riverside-focused and on (vice)regal and/or municipal initiative and involved the port infrastructures, resulting in construction of the custom house by the river in the open ground in front of the palace. This immediately recalled the model of Lisbon’s Terreiro do Paço before it was rebuilt after the 1755 earthquake. This relationship was enhanced by construction of a bastion in the river, at the end of a wharf (disappeared early on), installation of the market square (bazaar) to the east, and the Viceroys’ Quay (another pier) and Ribeira das Naus dock area (warehouses, shipyard, naval arsenal, ropewalk, etc.) to the west, with the latter two’s position inverted when compared to the Lisbon archetype. Additionally, the area south of the docks contained the residence-offices of the treasury controller, guard and master of the port, as well as the foundry, mint and the famous Royal All Saints Hospital (like the one on Lisbon’s Rossio square). It is also possible to establish a parallel between the squares/ public areas common to both palace complexes, the Terreiro dos Vice-Reis in Goa and the future Praça da Patriarcal in Lisbon, which were an essential functional complement of the representative plazas. The tanneries established themselves in a manifestly unsuitable location by the shore upriver, which contributed to increasing health problems. Just east from the palace area was the Weighing House, among several other urban/port infrastructures. It is in the urban structure of the large area west of the palace ground, i.e. the dock area, whose images led to suspicion of a Portuguese spatial framework meant to impose order and regularity, which is absolutely common in all coeval Portuguese urbanism. Nowadays a long wall is barely visible on the surface – a remnant of what once enclosed the shipyard and naval installations. The other aim, this time religious and monumental, influenced the city’s spread throughout the nonriverside area around the ex-medina and significantly began with the early order to build Saint Catharine’s Chapel next to the outside face of the wall gate (the River one) that had served as access to the victorious horde of conquering Portuguese on Saint Catherine’s Day in 1510. Curiously, the existent wall immediately east of the chapel follows the line of the old Muslim wall. Afonso de Albuquerque almost simultaneously ordered construction of a hermitage which three decades later gave way to the Church of Our Lady of the Rosary. It is located on what was then the most topographically prominent point in the city’s environs, otherwise the place where Afonso de Albuquerque commanded the assault. Nowadays it still marks the beginning of the city’s space from its lookout position with views of all those coming upriver. This elevation came to be called Monte Santo, deriving from the fact that a large number of religious complexes installed themselves around the two enormous plazas (of Saint Augustine and Saint Anthony), as can otherwise be seen on the attached map. There, for example and in the Old Goa version, we find ruins of the Convent of Grace and the College of Our Lady of Popolo, pertaining to the Augustinians, and just a shadow of the College of Saint Paul-the-New or Saint Roch of the Jesuits and Saint Anthony’s Chapel, as well as the complex of the Hospitallers of Saint John of God, now a home for the elderly, and the huge Saint Monica’s Convent, the only such intitution for women in the entire Portuguese Orient. Other religious complexes quickly occupied the other heights around the old Muslim city and, following no specific rule and thus even less ordered, channelled the urban growth, while marking the landscape with a style normally deemed baroque. For example, the highest point is still crowned by the Chapel of Our Lady of the Mount. Contrariwise, as hills must have valleys between them, the latter were also occupied by religious structures. Significantly, they succumbed earlier than the others, the main reason being that they were located at more unhealthy sites. Such was the case, for example, of the huge Jesuit structure of Saint Paul’s College, Saint Dominic’s Convent or the Convent of the Discalced Carmelites, both located on the east side of the citywhich documentation shows was more ravaged by the frequent epidemics. Besides the façade, the Chapel of Saint Francis Xavier once situated in the Jesuit college enclosure is still preserved, as are vestiges of the façade and altar of the Carmelites. A pond on a northeast-southeast axis contributed to the catastrophic health situation. Its urban end nearly reached the Old Pillory Square where, among others, the slaughterhouse and access to the gate leading through the medina to the Rua Direita were located. The pond was flanked on both banks by paths leading into the countryside, the streets of Saint Thomas and the Trinity. The former passed by Saint Paul’s College, Saint Thomas’s Church and the lazaretto on its way to the Benastarim passage point. The latter was marked by the church raised on the archbishop’s orders over a Hindu temple at the end of the 16th century. In the beginning, Saint Thomas’s Street was known as the Carreira dos Cavalos, corresponding to an urban type habitual in medieval and coeval Portuguese cities. Westward beyond the medina was another plaza with the impressive Jesuit complex of Bom Jesus, nowadays still one of Old Goa’s main attractions as it contains the tomb of Saint Francis Xavier, Asia’s biggest Catholic pilgrimage magnet. Eastward, the site of the Old Pillory Square, a true hinge of Goa’s roads, still marks the start of Luz Road, which continues past the New Pillory and leads to what was once the large plaza of Our Lady of Light, a peri-urban square of the Portuguese rossio type. From there, a ramp led to the Oratorian Convent of the Cross of Miracles and also to the Goan hinterland, forking to Moula and Talaulim. The urban area ended there, even though the new and extensive perimeter fortification begun in the 1560s (indicated on the attached satellite photo/map) had marked out a much larger urban perimeter. Chronologically and thus conceptually the start of the process of building the new enclosure coincided with the start of the monumental phase regarding the pre-existing urban fabric and of fostering the growth mentioned in various places above. This was all accomplished via major religious architectural programmes. Paradoxically, a period of decline was also beginning. Definition of the new perimeter, whose lines were determined for defence reasons (essentially taking advantage of earlier structures and, by linking points of passage, making more topographically favourable positions), also had the effect of decompressing the urban centre, enabling citizens to seek residence far from the disease-prone centre, with the false sense of protection offered by the wall. The perimeter also encompassed a number of drinking water sources, such as the Banguinim Fount, eventually channelled to the city centre. Especially notable overall was the number of religious establishments. In the urban core, the extensive building of monumental structures obviously took place during the period of the Counter-Reformation and in line with its propagandistic aims. Among those who played significant roles in this process was Friar Aleixo de Meneses (1559-1617), archbishop from 1595 to 1612, viceroy of Portuguese India from 1607 to 1609 and head of the Council of Portugal in the Philippine court [during Iberian Union] as well as viceroy of Portugal in Lisbon in 1614 and 1615. He was not responsible for all the initiatives; basically, the dynamic situation he created led to the exaggerated formula of Goa as the Rome of the Orient, which would make him the respective Sixtus V. Due to his positions and high regard at the court he was able to ensure sufficient means to produce an animated urban landscape along baroque lines in the capital of the Estado da Índia. His apostolic action extended throughout the stet; especially important were his visits to the Província do Norte. As in European territory, though here with expressions and size never attained anywhere else in the empire, the augmented scale and splendour of the religious architecture was considered an essential means for fighting heresy, which otherwise boasted architectures of high impact and quality in this region. What comprises Old Goa and is still visited there is only a part of that architectural programme. It is also important to note how it became impossible for any religious congregation or order not to have a house in Goa. The exceptions are indeed quite rare. Although long, the description I’ve just made is not in any way exhaustive. Its only modest aim is to give the reader an idea of the complexity and organic nature of Goa’s urban structure and thus enable a better understanding of Old Goa. It must be emphasised that there are many descriptions of Goa and guides to Old Goa, among them those contained in the book From Goa to Panaji... by Pedro Dias (2005). Yet it still takes time to grasp the bygone reality of the former, which is absolutely necessary for full comprehension of the latter. To that end, the following entries should help a great deal. Two small references must now be made to issues which also appear in other texts of this volume. The first concerns the capital’s move to Mormugao and the other the frustrated Pombaline restoration plan. The first case dragged on from the last decades of the 17th century into the first decades of the following one. Construction did get under way and some Goa buildings were dismantled so materials could be reused there, but the resistance of some of the religious orders held fast. Some had only just established themselves. The same did not occur with other residents, including those holding high positions in the royal administration and the archbishops themselves, who spread along the road to Ribandar, a toponym which in the local language curiously means royal port or road. When the Count of Linhares Causeway linked Ribandar to Panaji in the 1630s the migration extended into the latter, anticipating its future as the activities hub of New Goa, the official designation of the capital instituted (or recognised) in 1843, when Goa became Velha Goa/Old Goa. As part of his vast plan for the administrative and territorial restoration of the entire Estado da Índia, promulgated by royal charters in early 1774, the Marquis of Pombal ordered reforms and health improvements implemented in the city of Goa, going so far as to impose measures to compel royal functionaries to return along with their respective institutions. Work was begun and, among other health measures, numerous wells and other focuses of disease were sealed. Some housing was also built and various buildings restored. As always, the plan was far-reaching and set out in extraordinarily rich memoranda detailing the specific situation and ideological context brought on by the enlightenment. The Jesuits, of course, were accused of being mainly responsible for the decadence; their property was reused to drive the desired restoration. The plans were also very ambitious and are extremely useful for our mental reconstitution of the city. But Goa’s destiny was clear, also because what is now Old Goa had come about, revealed after the religious orders were abolished in 1834. There was also time and opportunity for more dismantlements, for the situation that persists to this day owed more to administrative determinism than neglect. After several sporadic actions, toward the very end of the Estado da Índia’s existence the government decided to draw up an ambitious plan for the Reintegration of the City of Old Goa in its Historical, Archaeological, Monastic and Religious Ambience. A committee was assembled for that purpose, whose work was published in a report dated 1959. The plan began to be implemented, but it was too late for the Portuguese administration, and the Indian administration only began to show active interest in the problem many years later and necessarily from another perspective. Due to its past, though essentially to what remains in the present, Old Goa was placed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1986. The great historical lesson of Goa’s transformation into Old Goa is basically summarised as the extent to which it was a victim of itself, for even though there are countless encomiastic descriptions and references, it was endowed neither by nature nor by man with the conditions to remain in space as legend has perpetuated it in time. (

Religious Architecture

Military Architecture

Equipment and Infrastructures