To the south of St. Cajetan’s Church, on the main road leading to Ponda, is the gateway which formed the entrance to the College of St. Paul. The college was completed in 1542 and the Collegiate Church consecrated on 25 January 1543, the day of the conversion of St. Paul. What remains is only the facade in the shape of an arch with a niche at the top and a cross crowning it.

On either side of the arch is a column of the Corinthian Order on a raised plinth, while the arch itself is supported by pilasters of the Doric Order. The structure is built of laterite and is lime-plastered, while the columns and the pilasters are of basalt.

The arch led to the College of St. Paul of which nothing remains today. It is said that the college was built over the ruins of a mosque. It was established for imparting knowledge to converts all the races and nationalities, to enable them to preach the Gospel in different parts of the country. St. Francis Xavier also stayed in it.

The outbreak of an epidemic in 1570 forced the inmates to move to another place and resulted in the partial abandoning of this building. However, it continued for some years as the principal institution of the Jesuits in India. The building was in ruins when the Government demolished it in 1832 and transported the materials for construction of buildings in Panjim. The existing ruined gateway of the college was built in 1542 along with the college.

Excavations

St. Paul’s College site is a centrally protected monument situated to the west of St. Paul’s Gate in Old Goa. It was proposed to carry out a small trial excavation to expose the buried structure and to throw light on the layout of the area. The site was found to be highly disturbed due to excessive coconut cultivation in the recent past.

During the excavation, the available area was gridded into trenches. Over the floors, huge chunks of plastered walls had fallen, damaging the floor. In Trench Al, a drain covered with rectangular stone slabs running in north-south direction was noticed.

In Trench XA, an iron object, perhaps used as a hinge for wooden doors was discovered, but not retrieved. This trench as badly damaged due to a fallen circular stone column. in Trench ZA, a semi-circular shaped floor with terracotta bricks was exposed. The stone labs had a square hole, which was probably meant for fixing wooden poles.

Content sourced from asigoacircle.gov.in

 

Team InsideGoa
Author: Team InsideGoa

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