Old Goa or Velha Goa is a village in the Tiswadi taluka situated to the east of Panaji. It is located on the banks of the river Mandovi. Old Goa, known as “Rome of the East” in the former times, was a major city where the trade between the East and West met, leaving behind a veritable treasure of art and culture.
This is the place where, snuggled amidst coconut groves, are most of Goa’s famous churches of international fame such as See Cathedral, Basilica of Bom Jesus, the Church of St. Francis of Assisi, Majestic monasteries and vents by the side of the main Panaji-Margao road. The ancient temple of Gomanteshwar, the Government Agricultural Farm and Poultry Farm is also situated here. To the left of the main road, there is a beautiful garden, amidst which stands the lovely bronze statue of Luis de Camoes, the 16th century national poet of Portugal. A statue of Mahatma Gandhi with a Harijan girl can also be seen at the junction of five roads.
The travellers during the time of Portuguese have described the city in such glowing terms as to justify the appellation of ‘Goa dourada’ or ‘Golden Goa’ With the decline and fall of the Portuguese empire the city lost its importance. In consequence of a terrible epidemic which then spread in the city of Goa and its suburbs, the Viceregal residence was transferred to Idalcao Palace (present Secretariat) at Panaji in 1759 A.D. In 1843, the city of Panaji was declared as the Capital of Portuguese India.