Acclaimed as one of the largest churches in Asia, the Se Cathedral church is a manifestation of the opulence of the Portuguese era in Goa. The church was dedicated to St. Catherine of Alexandria as the Portuguese led by Alfonso de Albuquerque conquered Goa on the St. Catherine’s day (November 25) in 1510. Even though the original mud and stone structure was built in that year itself, the present Se Cathedral church came up in 1652, after 80 years of painstaking craftsmanship.
The exterior of the church is a confluence of Tuscan and Doric architecture styles, while the interior is a blend of Mosaic-Corinthian style. In contrast to the Tuscan-inspired mundane exterior the interiors are majestic with an imposing principal chapel. There are four chapels to either side of the main altar.
Although the main façade of the Se Cathedral was flanked by two bell towers, the one towards the north collapsed on July 25, 1776. The remaining tower houses five bells including the “Golden bell”, named so because smatterings of gold were mixed with other metals during the bell’s construction. It was also called the “Bell of Inquisition” since its tolling heralded the start of “auto da fes,” the brutal part of the Inquisition process.