Gorgeous Old Goa, with foliage creeping in around the ruins of old churches, served as the capital of the Portuguese colony until repeated outbreaks of cholera forced the government to move to Panaji in 1843. The shift out of Old Goa, however, had begun as early as 1695. It was a slow desertion—first the viceroy, then the nobility, then the customs. By the time the official declaration came, it was already a deserted, ruined city. There are several imposing and beautiful churches, convents, and monasteries that reveal its former glory. Most were begun at a time when European architectural styles were shifting toward the baroque. For anyone with an interest in religious architecture or Catholic history, Old Goa is a must-see destination, and merits a couple of hours of exploration.
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