Other then the beaches and casinos there are many more tourist attractions when it comes to exploring the state of Goa. The state is divided among various tourist spots, and when it comes to religious places, the Basilica of Bom Jesus must be on top of the list.
The Basilica of Bom Jesus is a Lesser Basilica, situated in Old Goa, India. It is one of the Seven Wonders of Portuguese Origin in the World and is part of the architectural group of Churches and Convents of Goa, Patrimony of the Humanity by UNESCO, being one of the best examples of the architecture of European origin in the country. It was built between 1594 and 1605, a work considered fast by the standards of the time. In its interior rests the body of San Francisco Xavier, considered The Apostle of the East.
Construction work began in 1594 by order of the captain of Cochin and Ormuz, Don Jerónimo de Mascarenhas, and the church consecrated in 15 of May of 1605, the Archbishop of Goa Dom Frei Aleixo de Meneses. In 2 of December of 1637, the body of St. Francisco Xavier was transferred to the Basilica, where it is today. In 1946, it became the first basilica of India. Nowadays, there are still pilgrimages to the place, for visits to the tomb of the Apostle of the East. The structure of the building Jesus is a mannerist style derived from the school of Sebastiano Serlio, with rich ornamentation designed by Júlio Simão (attribution) and performed under the inspiration of Nordic Mannerism, “Flemish fashion,” as Vítor Serrão said.
Built-in laterite, its floor is of marble and inlaid with precious stones. Several paintings are illustrating the life of St. Francis Xavier, and the altar is dedicated to St. Ignatius of Loyola, companion of St. Francis Xavier in the missions in the East. His design was inspired by the now-ruined Church of St. Paul of Macao. The columns are a set of Ionic, Doric, and Corinthian features. The ground floor of the church has three portals, above them are three long windows and on the second floor are three circular windows. Most of the upper façade forms a quadrangle carved in basalt to create a medallion illustrating the emblem of the Society of Jesus.
The Mausoleum where the body of St. Francis Xavier currently rests is from 1696, an offer of Cosme III, Grand Duke of Tuscany, member of the Medici Family, in a project by the sculptor Giovanni Battista Foggini. The tomb is made of polished silver. His relics, for safety’s sake, are presented only every ten years, and the last presentation took place between November 22, 2014, and January 4, 2015.
Next to this popular church is the Professed house of the Jesuits, a beautiful two-storied laterite building covered in enormous amounts of lime plaster thereby rendering the colonial architecture effect. History dates the construction of this house to before that of the basilica in the year 1585. This building was rebuilt in 1783 after this got burned down in the year 1633.
Now there is only a modern art gallery that is attached to the basilica and opens for the tourists to visit.
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