A historical City of Old Goa was constructed by the Bijapur Sultanate in the 15th century and served as the capital of Portuguese India from the 16th to 18th century. The city was abandoned due to a plague. The abandoned city came to be known as “Velha Goa” (in Portuguese, ‘Old Goa’), to distinguish it from the new capital Nova Goa (Panjim) and probably also Goa Velha (also meaning “Old Goa”), which was the Portuguese name for the town located on the old site of Govapuri.
The remains of the city once famous for its Renaissance architecture, which can be still witnessed in the monuments and churches of the region, is UNESCO declared World Heritage site. The city is located about 10 kilometres east of the state capital Panjim and is embellished with few grand churches and cathedrals which are among the largest in Asia. Old buildings have been turned into museums and are maintained by the Archaeological survey of India. The famous monuments in Old Goa are the Viceroy’s Arch and Gate of Adil Shah’s Palace,
Old Goa is adorned with 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 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.