The Church of St Francis of Assisi is one of the most famous sights in Old Goa, built in the 16th century. The convent of this church complex has been home to a relatively younger resident: the Archaeological Museum. The museum was established only in 1964, and was reorganized in 1981-82. Today, you can find eight galleries in the ancient museum, showing visitors a side of Goa they may not be familiar, from the prehistoric period to the late medieval period. The museum’s biggest draws are probably its massive portrait paintings of the late viceroys and governors who ruled over colonial Goa. The paintings of these Portuguese men can be seen in the gallery upstairs. Artifacts spanning 400 years of colonial rule are on display. But its other curios are just as interesting, from pillars to postal stamps and wooden sculptures to other memorabilia. ALSO READ: Breathtaking Museums in Goa for a Dose of History
The Archaeological Museum is also well worth visiting for its artwork. Here you can see a wooden sculpture of John the Baptist, paintings of the Hindu god Vishnu and his ten mythological avatars, a portrait of Luis Vaz de Camees, considered Portugal’s greatest poet, and ivory sculptures of Jesus Christ. There is also a bronze statue of the first Portuguese governor of Goa, Afonso de Albuquerque, Arabic and Persian inscriptions, a hero and sati stone, Portuguese weapons like daggers, swords and rifles and portraits of the fourth viceroy of Portuguese India, Com Joa de Castro, and of course Vasco da Gama. Some of the most interesting items on show here are the remnants of beautiful stone sculptures from Goan Hindu temple sites. A bronze statue of Luis Vaz de Camees can be found inside as well; it was once present in Old Goa, while the statue of Albuquerque once stood in Azad Maidan in Panaji.
BEST TIME TO VISIT GOA
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