Goa was a Portuguese colony from the 16th century to 1961, when the Indian army took over the enclave, after Portugal refused to relinquish their control. While Goa is most visited for its tropical beaches, there are also plenty of old stones to see. The old Portuguese quarter of Panaji (formerly Panjim), the state capital, offers a pleasant stroll in its narrow winding streets lined with painted buildings, shuttered windows, and balconies. About 9km away, half a dozen baroque churches and convents, among the largest in Asia, still stand in Old Goa, a city once said to rival Lisbon. The basilica of Bom Jesus is known through the Roman Catholic world for housing the remnants of St Francis Xavier, that were said to have been miraculously preserved from decay for more than a century after his death in 1552. Illustrating the evangelization of Asia, the churches and covents of Old Goa are a UNESCO world heritage site.
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