Goa holds many amazing places to visit, but the city of Old Goa definitely will be one of the better ones.The majestic historic city of Old Goa is a 30-minute drive from Goa’s capital city, Panjim. In the region of Old Goa, there are many beautiful old ruins, churches and monasteries dating back from the 16th century. A large number of amazing religious buildings with European architecture give Old Goa the name of “Rome of the East”.
Until the 1960’s the province of Goa in India used to be a Portuguese enclave that was conquered from the Old Indian Maharajas of the area. In Goa, most of the architecture can be related to the Portuguese, but also very old native structures are there to be discovered. Not all structures survived, many ruins and rubbles decorate the area that only gives a slight glimpse of an idea of the size of Old Goa in early Colonial times.
The typical white churches and Mediterranean houses decorate the tropical green area with ancient trees and widespread hilltops. Dry bushes and ancient fortresses are literally all over the place.
Goa is unique, beautiful and different than the rest of India. Even the local language sounds like a mix between Portuguese and a native Southern Indian language.
Old Goa: the former Portuguese capital city of trade in Asia
Old Goa used to be the capital city for trade and administration for the Portuguese empire in Asia, back in early colonial times. Colonial missions were coördinated from the settlement that was captured by the Portuguese in 1510.
The city of Old Goa grew out to be a city of 200.000 to 300.000 inhabitants during the colonial rule. Old Goa was the epicenter of all trade in Asia, connecting Malabar Coast, Ceylon, Malakka and Macao to Portugal.
Not much is left over from the Glory times of Old Goa. Only a few religious buildings and old houses still decorate the region that has been an official UNESCO Heritage site since 1986.
What once used to be a city the size of Paris or Londen, now only contains a few ruins and surrounding landmarks.
But still, Old Goa definitely is worth visiting on your trip to Goa.
Basilica of Bom Jesus
The UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Basilica of Bom Jesus is one the most famous buildings in Old Goa. The basilica holds the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier, the most famous Catholic Saint in India and its surroundings. The building is considered to be on of the best examples of baroque architecture in India. The construction of the church started in 1594.
The Basilica of Bom Jesus is one of the oldest churches in Goa and in India.
How to get there
The Airport of Goa (Vasco da Gama) is located 29 km south of Panjim. You will be able to travel to Old Goa with a bus from Panjim, the actual capital city of Goa. From Karantaka or Mumbai, you will be able to take a sleeper train to Goa.