Old Goa was the former colonial capital for the first 350 years of the Portuguese rule. It now hosts some of the state's most famous monuments and has become a tourist spot. Its Renaissance architecture is breathtaking and the UNESCO has declared it as a World Heritage Site. It is well known for its churches that remind of its former glory that once rivaled that of Rome. It was known to the world as Golden Goa or Pearl of the Orient. Old Goa is situated 9 km east of Panaji on the banks of the Mandovi River.
The earliest settlement in Old Goa was established in the 12th century during the Hindu Kadamba Kings rule. In 1470 under the Bahmani Sultanate it became Goa's capital. Later the Bijapur sultan Adil Shah who occupied it made it his second capital and by then Old Goa was surrounded by fortified walls and had turned into a major trading station.
In 1510 Albuquerque defeated Adilshah and missionaries of various religious orders and the Portuguese soon followed. Magnificent churches were built by them in Old Goa. However as the city stood on reclaimed swampland, cholera epidemics took heavy toll of its citizens regularly and in 1843 Old Goa was officially abandoned in favor of Panaji.
One can reach Old Goa by taking a bus from Panaji's KTC bus stand for Ponda as it goes through Old Goa. Also auto rickshaws and taxis are available from Panaji.