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Historical Interest

‘He who has seen Goa, need not see Lisbon’: so goes an old Portuguese saying. And you can see why. Vasco, near Mormugao, named after its founder, Vasco da Gama is a city of delightful colonial architecture complete with overhanging balconies and narrow winding cobblestone streets.

The city of Old Goa or Velha Goa in North Goa is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Portugal’s principal city between 1510 and 1835, it was called the ‘Rome of the Orient.’ Here are some of India’s oldest and finest churches, including the16th century Se Cathedral or St. Catherine’s Cathedral, the largest in India. And the Basilica of Bom Jesus, a UNESCO World Heritage Site whose magnificent Florentine mausoleum houses the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier. It is one of the best examples of baroque architecture in India.

The Portuguese are also known for the forts they built to guard their coasts. Like the 1613 Fort Aguada in North Goa with oldest lighthouse in Asia – a quaint four storey structure from 1864 with a breathtaking view from the top! And Shapora Fort close to Panjim city was built in 1617.

The 20, 000 century BCE rock carvings at Usgalimal beside the Kushavatiriver in South Goa, the 14th century Mahalakshmi temple in Ponda and the serene spirituality of the 560 CE Safa Masjid on the outskirts of the city originally built by the pre-Portuguese Bijapur rulers are some of the pre-Portuguese sites that are worth a visit.

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