Perhaps the best way to arrive in Old Goa is the same way that visitors did in the city’s heyday. Approaching along the wide Mandovi River, new arrivals would have first glimpsed the city’s busy wharf just in front of the symbolic arched entrance to the city.
This archway, known as the Viceroy’s Arch, was erected by Vasco da Gama’s grandson, Francisco da Gama, who became viceroy in 1597. On the side facing the river, the arch (which was restored in 1954 following a collapse) is ornamented with the deer emblem on Vasco da Gama’s coat of arms. Above it in the centre of the archway is a statue of da Gama himself.
On the side facing the city is a sculpture of a European woman wielding a sword over an Indian, who is lying under her feet. No prizes for guessing the message here, as the Inquisition made its way liberally across the city. The arch originally had a third storey with a statue of St Catherine.