Old Goa - Today

The gate where the Arch of Vice-Roys was built, formed one of the four main entrances of the citadel of Adil Shah, at the time of the Portuguese conquest. It was here that the Senate of Goa welcomed the new Vice-Roy and handed him the keys of the city. The president delivered his speech in Latin. The Vice-Roy Dom Francisco da Gama ordered in 1599 that this arch be built in memory of his great grand father, Vasco da Gama. The arch was built by the Chief Engineer Julio Simão. Its style is Manueline and it is made of granite. It faces Mandovi River. People entered the city through this gate. It was declared a historical monument by ordinance of August 20, 1830.

In the centre of the arch, on the side facing the river Mandovi, there is a marble statue of Vasco da Gama dressed in the fashion of his time. On the other side is the bronze statue of St. Catarina on whose feast day Afonso de Albuquerque reconquered Goa.

Below the statue of Vasco da Gama there is the following Legend. (When King Philip, the first, was reigning the city placed here I Dom Vasco-da Game the first Commander Admiral Discoverer and Conqueror of India when / the Vice-Roy was Count Dom / Francisco da Gama his great grandson / the year 99.

Formerly, there were two niches in the centre of the arch, one above the other. The statue of St. Catarina was in the upper niche and that of Vasco-da-Gama in the lower niche. The statue of Vasco da Gama was fastened to the wall by a strong bar of iron. But when the new Viceroy Ayres de Saldanha succeeded D.Francisco da Gama, the enemies of the latter destroyed the statue of Vasco-da- Gama and its broken pieces were hung up in different parts of the city. In fact a French engineer Sebastiao Tibao applied a solution to the iron during the night which was eaten up and the statue fell down on December 27, 1600, just before the departure of D. Francisco da Gama to PortugaL When Pyrard de Laval visited Goa (1607-1610) the statue of Sta. Catarina had been placed in the vacant niche of Vasco-da-Gama. However the Senate of Goa replaced it with a new one in 1609. The inauguration of this monument was celebrated with great pomp; the famous Portuguese historian Diogo de Couto, author of "Decadas", took part in them.

Another remarkable thing about this arch is the Latin inscription in honour of Immaculate Conception. It was placed on the right side of the wall in 1656, following the directives of the Portuguese King D. João IV. A sculpture of the same king holding, in his left hand, a banner with the picture of Immaculate Conception on it and a sword in his right hand, was placed with the following inscription: "LEGITIMO E VERDADEIRO REV / DOM JOAM 0 IV RES-TAURADOR DA LIBERDADE PORTUGUESA. 1656" (The legitimate and true king D. João IV, the restorer of Portuguese liberty). It commemorated the emancipation of Portugal from the Spanish yoke. This Arch was reconstructed in 1954.