ruins-of-st

Standing on Holy Hill (Monte Santo) is perhaps the most mournful memorial to Old Goa’s fallen might. All that’s left today of the Church of St Augustine is the 46m-high tower, which served as a belfry and formed part of the church’s facade. The few other remnants are choked with creepers and weeds, making picking your way among them rather difficult. The church was constructed in 1602 by Augustinian friars who had arrived in Old Goa in 1587 and was abandoned in 1835.

As Old Goa emptied due to a continual series of deadly epidemics, the church fell into neglect and the vault collapsed in 1842. In 1931 the facade and half the tower fell down, followed by more sections in 1938. The tower’s huge bell was moved in 1871 to the Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception in Panaji, where it can be seen (and heard) today.

The Church when intact was perhaps the biggest in Goa. With the religious suppression in 1835, the Augustinians deserted the church and the convent. The latter was used for some time by the charitable institution of the Misericordia. The buildings fell into neglect resulting in the collapse of the vault on 8 September 1842. The Government appropriated the property selling the materials the following year. The façade and half of the tower fell in 1931 and some more parts of it collapsed in 1938.