FortCochin Heritage Zone Conservation Project

World Heritage Centre - Fort Cochin

Fort Cochin has a pride history , for the time being we can start with the Rajah of Cochin giving permission for the Portuguese for building a fort near the waterfront to protect their commercial interests as a token of gratitude for helping him fighting the forces of Saamoothiri of Kozhikode. The first part of the name Fort Kochi comes from this fort, Fort Emmanuel, which was later destroyed by the Dutch. Here one can see the remains of this Fort submerged in the Arabian Sea as well as some part in the Bishop's House which is being protected. The main importance of FortCochin is that it has been conquered first by the Portuguese then by Dutch & Finally by the British. Important places to see in Fort Cochin are...

1. STROMBERG BASTION - One of the seven bastions (a kind of tower at a bend in the wall of a fort) of Fort Emmanuel, was constructed in 1667 A.D. It formed the northern boundary of the Fort.Due to strategic location it was chosen to be the house of the commander. Now, Called Bastion Bungalow, is the Official residence of the Sub Collector.It is said that a network of secret tunnels run beneath the bungalow.

2. FORT EMMANUEL - With seven bastions, all filled with heavy guns was built by the Portugues with the permission of Raja of Cochin.It was named after King Emmanuel of Portugal. Part of the Fort Emmanuel where the gunnery filled with powerful guns to keep a check on the incoming ships was located.

3. CHINESE NETS - The great flood of 1341 A.D. opened the Harbour at Cochin and Chinese traders moved from Crangannore to Cochin. They introduced china nets between 1350 & 1450 A.D. Later the Chinese were driven out by Arabs. However, the Portuguese reintroduced these nets from Macao, China. The different parts of china nets have Portuguese names.

4. BISHOP’S HOUSE - Built in 1506 as the residence of the Portuguese Governor. The building was acquired by Dom Jos Gomes Ferreira, the 27th Bishop of Diocese of Kochi whose jurisdiction extended over Burma & Malaya in addition to India.

5. OLD HARBOUR HOUSE - Built in 1808 is in the possession of Carvit Moran & Co. renowned tea brokers, who now use it as their residence.

6. THAKUR HOUSE - Built on the site of the bidder land Bastion, one of the seven bastions of the old Dutch fort. Earlier known as kunal or Hill Bungalow, it was house to the managers of the National Bank of India during the British reign. Today the Bungalow belongs to Ram Bahadur Thakur & Co.

Once upon a time one of the four elite clubs of the British in Kochi, the United Dale today serves – a class room for the nearby St. Francis Primary School by day and as card room for the current members by evening. Until 1907, the building housed the office of the Fort Cochin Municipality.

8. THE COCHIN CLUB - With its impressive library and collection of sporting trophies is housed in a beautifully landscaped park.

9. PARADE GROUND - The 4 acre ground was where once the Portuguese, the Dutch and British colonists conducted their military parades and drills and the building around parade ground housed their defense establishments. Today this ground is a sports arena.

10. KODER HOUSE - Constructed by Samuel and Koder of the Cochin Electric Company in 1808 is a supreme example of the transition from Colonial to Indo European architecture. Features like verandah seats at the entrance ,floor tiles in a chess board pattern, red colored brick like façade, carved wood furniture and wooden bridge connecting to a separate structure across the street are all unique to this bungalow.Now this has been converted to a three star Hotel.

11. DUTCH CEMETRY - The tomb stones here are the most authentic record of the hundreds of Europeans who left their homeland in a million to expand their colonial empires and changed the course of history of this land. The cemetery was consecrated in 1724.

12. SANTA CRUZ BASILICA - Built by Portuguese and elevated to a cathedral by Pope Paul IV in 1558. In 1795 it fell into the hands of the British when they took over Kochi and was demolished. Over a 100 years later Bishop Dom Gomez Ferreira commissioned a new building at the same site in 1887. The church was proclaimed as Basilica in 1984 by Pope john Paul II.

13. LOAFER’S CORNER / PRINCESS STREET - One of the earliest streets to be constructed in Fort Kochi, Princess street with its European Style residences still retains its world charm. The best view of this street can be had from loafers corner, the traditional meeting place and hangout of jovial funloving people of the era.

14. ST. FRANCIS CHURCH - Built in 1503 by Portuguese Franciscan friars.This is India’s oldest European church. This was initially built in timber and later reconstructed in stone masory. It was restored in 1779 by Protestant Dutch, converted to an Anglican Church by the British in 1795 and is at present governed by CSI. Vascoda gama was buried here in 1524 before his remains were moved to Lisbon, Portugal. Tombstone still remains.

More articles: Fort Kochi


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