Old Goa is a World Heritage Site and have rich history. Before the arrival of the Portuguese on the Goan shores, it was a royal capital of Muslim ruler Sultan Adil Shah of Bijapur. Alfonso de Albuquerque defeated the Sultan and began a new chapter in the history of Goa. Old Goa was soon famed as the " Lisbon of the East" but unfortunately in the 19th century, various epidemics like cholera and malaria made the city highly unfriendly and the Portuguese shifted their capital to Panaji in 1843. Old Goa is now maintained by Archaeological Survey Of India. It is very important place for Goans because of heritage churches. The trip to Old Goa is welcome break from the beaches and boozes and venture into the rich history.
Sights And ActivitiesSt Cathedral
The largest church in Old Goa was constructed in 1619. The architecture is mixture of Portuguese -Gothic with Tuscan exterior and Corinthian interior. The golden bell in the church is famed for its rich sound. The main altar is dedicated to St Catherine of Alexandia and the paintings on the wall depicts the her life and martyrdom.
Convent & Church Of St Francis Of Assisi
One of the beautiful architecture of the Old Goa, has carved and gilded carve work. The superb ornamental screen behind the altar, old murals depicting scenes from the life of St Francis and a floor made of carved gravestones complete with family coats of arms dating back to the early 16th century. There is small archaeological museum behind the church that houses sculpture fragments from Hindu temple sites and stone vetal images from the animist cult.
Basilica Of Bom Jesus
The basilica is not only famous in Goa but throughout the Roman Catholic world. It has huge significance because it preserve the tomb and mortal remains of St Francis Xavier, who in 1541 was given the task of spreading Christianity among the people of Portuguese colonies in the East. One of the oldest churches in Goa, is magnificent for its simplicity.
Church Of St Cajetan
It is a replica of St Peter's in Rome, this church is built by Italian mendicants who were sent by Pope Urban III preach Chritianity in the modern day Hyderabad. Due to strong Muslim influence it was impossible for them to work in Golconda (near Hyderabad), so ultimately settled in Old Goa in 1640. The construction began in 1655.
Other Historic Sites
Other important tourist attractions are Viceroy's Arch, Adil Shah's Palace gateway, Chapel of St Anthony, Chapel of St Catherine, Convent & Church of St John and Church of Our Lady of the Rosary.
Old Goa is an excellent place for some good excursions. There are many near by attractions such as Bondla Wildlife Sanctuary, the fascinating Calangute beach, and scenic Dona Paula Beach.