Old Goa or Velha Goa is a historical city in North Goa district in the Indian state of Goa. The city was founded by the Bijapur Sultanate in the 15th century, and was the capital of the Bahmani Sultan Adil Shah. It had been the large palace of Adil Shah, surrounded by fort walls, towers and a moat was located here as well as many temples and mosques. Unfortunately none of these structures remain in existence today except for the ruins of the gateway to the palace.It also served as capital of Portuguese India from the 16th century.After the Portuguese conquest, Old Goa went on to become a bustling metro glittering with gold and glamour. As its reputation grew, the fabulous city attracted visitors from all over Europe.At the height of the Portuguese power, it was called the `Rome of the Orient’, its population surpassing that of even the European cities of London and Lisbon.The remains of the city are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Old Goa is approximately 10 kms east of the state capital Panjim. Old goa (Velha Goa) was incorporated into the Republic of India in 1961, together with the rest of Goa.
Old Goa contains churches affiliated to various congregations, including the Se Cathedral (the seat of the Archbishop of Goa), the Church of St. Francis of Assisi, the Church of S. Caetano, and notably, the Basilica of Bom Jesus which contains the relics of Saint Francis Xavier, which is celebrated every year on 3 December with novenas beginning on 24 November.
Afonso Albuquerque - the founder of Goa - built the first church here, that of Our Lady of the Rosary. He also built the Se Cathedral, the largest church in Asia, that took 80 years to completed. The construction of Churches continued at a fast pace and eventually there were some 12 huge and magnificent churches and monuments roughly in an area of one square kilometre in Old Goa.
The city had as many as seven markets where traders came from China, Arabia, Zanzibar and other Indian states to trade in silk, cotton, spices and perfumed oils, etc. There were markets for blacksmiths, goldsmiths, fish and meats, and one for diamonds.The magnificent splendour of Old Goa was however quite short-lived.
Today, Old Goa is a World Heritage site. There is a small village around the huge churches and convents. Some of these are still in active use, and others have become museums maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India. Today it attracts thousands of Tourist all over the world.
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