Saint Anne Church

Completed Project
World Monuments Watch
Talaulim, Goa, India

The Church of Saint Anne, also known as Sant’Ana or Santana Church, is the parish church of the small village of Talaulim, located about 10 miles from Panjim, the capital of Goa, and about seven miles from the old capital city, Goa Velha, home to the Churches and Convents of Goa, inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage list. Once a year in July, thousands flock to the church to celebrate the feast of its patron saint, Anne. Like other churches in the Indo-Portuguese baroque style, Saint Anne's has a large, single nave that opens onto a smaller, narrow sanctuary, and a spectacular groin vault. Years of inadequate maintenance and the aggressive monsoon environment caused major cracks to develop along the vault, on the tiled roofs, down the southern bell tower, and within the two towers’ staircases. These structural damages threatened the church’s stability while allowing moisture and vegetation to invade and decay plaster, stone, and wooden elements.

2000 World Monuments Watch

Years of inadequate maintenance and the aggressive monsoon environment took their toll on the church. These problems led to structural cracks in the bell and baptistery towers and down the apex of the vaulted stucco nave ceiling. Due to these significant issues, Saint Anne was included on the World Monuments Watch in 2000. In 2004, WMF partnered with the Fundaçao Oriente of Lisbon to complete a detailed conservation study and historical research project at the church. By 2006 a comprehensive work plan for the emergency stabilization and restoration of the front façade, towers, staircases, and nave roof had been created. WMF presented this action plan to the diocese of Goa, the government of Goa, and INTACH to assist with the planning and implementation of the project. In 2007, after the partial collapse of the bell tower, urgent provisional structural stabilization of the tower windows was completed. The following year, with funding from the state government, work began in earnest to stabilize the foundations and address the deteriorated finishes throughout the interior and exterior. The façade’s unfinished exterior surfaces were treated with mortar designed to match the composition of existing lime mortar samples. Damaged portions of the rich baroque ornamental moldings, carved wooden reliefs, windows, and hardwood doors were repaired or replaced with matching stone and timber. 

While the naves of European baroque churches usually have one entablature crowning a single order of pilasters, Saint Anne has two, made possible by dwarfing the proportions of the pilasters. This pattern extends to the groin vault, which runs over the whole building’s interior and results in a uniquely Indian manipulation of baroque forms. Decorations of the walls and woodwork with lotuses, palm leaves, and tropical flowers and fruits further accentuate the church’s hybrid style.

Last updated: April 2021.

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