Saint Francis Church, Fort Kochi

 
uasatish, India, Kerala, Kochi, Church of Saint Francis, blog, photography,

St. Francis Church is one of the oldest European churches in Kerala and is a landmark of Fort Kochi. It was built in the 16 century.
The flooding of Periyar River in 14 century turned Kochi into a natural harbour. The harbour was formed in 1341 when a great flood in the Periyar River led to an outlet in the sea. For centuries, Kochi was the battleground of European powers for the mastery of the lucrative trade to the Indian west coast..
The Portuguese navigator, Vasco da Gama, landed in Calicut, Kerala in 1498. The Portuguese Admiral Pedro Alvares Cabral visited Kochi in 1500 and the Raja of Kochi gave him permission to trade there after signing a friendship treaty with Portugal. In 1503, Alphonso de Albuquerque was given permission by the Raja to build a fort at the mouth of the river. It was named Fort Manuel. The five friars who accompanied Albuquerque built a wooden church within Fort Manuel and dedicated it to St. Bartholomew. The Franciscans raised the present edifice in the name of St. Anthony in 1516.
The mortal remains of Vasco da Gama was buried in the church. His son, Padre da Silva de Gama took the mortal remains to Portugal in 1538.
The Dutch made some restoration work on the church in 1779. The church has been known by the name of St. Francis only after extensive renovation and restoration was carried out by the British between 1886-87.
The east-facing church has an impressive frontage which reflects the Portuguese syle of architecture

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