Arch Of Our Lady Of The Conception (Mandovim Gate )
Goa [Velha Goa/Old Goa], Goa, India
Equipment and Infrastructures
Along with the Arch of the Viceroys, the Arch of Our Lady of the Conception remains one of the few vestiges of improvements or interventions implemented by the Portuguese in the Muslim walled perimeter of Goa. Its placement on or near the site of the previous Mandovim [customs] Gate is one of the essential landmarks enabling the design of the pre-Portuguese city’s defence line to be understood. Goa’s pre-Portuguese city wall soon became obsolete due to the post-1510 urban growth. It thus began to be dismantled and its moat was filled with rubble. But the four gates were given special attention: the Quay Gate was integrated in the Palace of the Viceroys; the Baçais Gate was integrated in the complex of the Misericórdia charity institution and the Church of Our Lady of the Hills; and the Riverside Gate was dismantled and Saint Martin’s Chapel built in its place. Finally, and according to Gaspar Correia, the Mandovim Gate was first walled off and then reopened; it appears in a view of Goa by Linschoten, published in a 1596. With the advent of the Inquisition in India, the gate’s importance seems to have increased, as the condemned were led through this site to Mandovim Square where the sentences were applied. In this context, it became habitual for the condemned to pray before an image of Our Lady placed in a niche over the gate’s archway. For this purpose stairs were built togive access to the level of the niche. The structure was then known as the Gate of the Punished [Justiçados] and is prominently depicted in the view of Goa by Pedro Barreto Resende dated around 1635. In the mid-17th century the gate was renamed after Our Lady of the Conception and it was probably restored as a result of the alarm generated by the imminent invasion of Tiswadi Island in 1683-84. The city of Goa was eventually abandoned, but the Arch of Our Lady of the Conception has survived until present. It was restored, probably in the 1950s, as were other buildings in Old Goa. The structure’s classical design presents clear affinities with the original version of the Arch of the Viceroys designed by the architect Júlio Simão. The size of the niche stands out; the image of Our Lady has been removed.