the-viceroy-arch

The Viceroy’s Arch erected in 1599 by Viceroy Francisco da Gama was once the main street for entering Old Goa. It was built as a memorial to the achievements of Vasco da Gama, the famous explorer.

Francisco da Gama was the great grand son of Vasco da Gama and was the governor of Goa from 1597 to 1600. In 1954 the arch was reconstructed with Vasco da Gama’s statue on the river side and the statue of St. Catherine on the other side.

A road leads to the Mandovi River from the St. Cajetan church and passes through the Viceroy’s Arch. It is also known to have been one of the gates of the Adil Shah Palace and is made of laterite.

Every city has its own gateway and these silent sentinels open their heart to take you to the irrefutable journey of bygones as soon as you prepare yourself to walk through them. They preserve an unknown air of royalty that entices every traveller. Goa is no exception, and above all when it flaunts of a rich Portuguese history. Built in 1599 as a memorial to Vasco da Gama, the Viceroy Arch stands symbolic on the jetty of Old Goa. It is said that each viceroy had to pass through this arch before he took his office. The gate is an excellent example of Maneuline style of architecture, though the arch in itself is a feature of the Italian renaissance.

Though the original structure was built soon after the conquest of the city by the Portuguese, by Francis da Gama (Viceroy 1597-1600 and great grandson of Vasco da Gama), the arch underwent considerable changes in latter years. The arch was completely re-built in 1954 and embellished with exquisite floral designs that allures its visitors. See the beautiful laterite synergy on the archway except for the facade on the riverside which is facetted with greenish granite. Walk past the two additional tiers, housing the statue of St Catherine on top and Vasco da Gama on the granite facade facing the river, as a symbol of Gamas’s discovery of sea-route to India. Try to read the Gothic inscriptions engraved on the archway and it is a fun to do that. Another inscription on it is dedicated to the Immaculate Conception of Virgin Mary, commemorating the emancipation of Portugal from Spain in 1656. You can also visit the Church of St. Cajetan which resembles St.Peter’s Basilica in Rome. The church is unique in its own way because of its lime-plastered laterite block arhitecture, that magnificently displays an impeccable Greek influence.

Located at a distance of 10-km from Margao is the Ancestral Goa which holds the pleasure of housing one of the must see attractions in the city, the Viceroy Arch. During your holiday vacations it is best to hire a car or a bike for commutation, which can be easily done from the town square or village market. Locally tourists can also afford state transport buses that ply on the downtown roads quite frequently.