Goa Tourism Development Corporation
A Government of Goa Undertaking
Ruins of the Church of St. Augustine, Goa Ruins of the Church of St. Augustine, Goa

Ruins of the Church of St. Augustine

Close to the Nunnery of Santa Monica, stands a lofty tower still proudly, defying the vagaries of the weather and the ravages time. This is the only surviving tower of the four that were once a part of the Church of St. Augustine. What was once perhaps the biggest Church in Goa is now a crumbling ruin, largely deserted, with its glory days behind it. However, this ruin still has some secrets left to divulge to those who are willing to dig deep enough to find them.

Claim to fame : In 1986, UNESCO declared the ruins to be a World Heritage Site. It is also the site of the archaeological discovery of the remains of Queen Ketevan.

History, Construction and Architecture

This complex was built by the Augustinian order. It comprised the church of Our Lady of Grace, the Convent of Saint Augustine, The College of Populo, and The Seminary of St Guilherme.

The church is dedicated to Our Lady of Grace. Its construction was started in 1597 and was completed around 1602. Originally comprising of four towers and a massive vault, the dimensions of this superb edifice placed it on par with the great imperial cathedrals of the Renaissance era.    Read more +

Abandonment and Ruination

In 1835, the Augustinians were expelled from Goa and as a result, the church was abandoned. In 1846, the main vault of the church collapsed and the convent rapidly decayed. Of all the majestic buildings, that once stood here, all that is left to see today is the belfry of the tower that soared 150 ft. high.

Legend and Lore

An old tale recounts how the vault of the church was problematic to construct and in fact fell down twice whilst being erected. The third time that it was put up, the architect, to show his confidence in his design stationed his only son within the church and ordered that a cannon be fired at the structure. Fortunately, his confidence was not misplaced, and the structure held.

Archaeological Heritage

Even though the original church lies in ruins, it becomes ever more apparent that it yet has unplumbed depths. Careful study beginning in 1990 has recently resulted in the discovery of the remains of the lost martyr, Queen Ketevan of Georgia.   Read more +

There is little that can be seen today of the gracious and imposing church and monastery which once stood at this site, however, it is still considered worth a visit. Clambering over the old ruins causes one to reflect on the passage of time, and its vagaries.