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Reis Magos Fort

Reis Magos fort, surrounded by sturdy laterite walls studded with typically Portuguese turrets, was erected in 1551 to protect the narrowest point at the mouth of the Mandovi estuary. The fort formerly accommodated viceroys and other dignitaries newly arrived from, or en route to, Lisbon, and in the early eighteenth century proved a linchpin in the wars against the Hindu Marathas, who were never able to take it. The bastion was used as a prison and is not open to the public. This Fort stands on the north bank of the Mandovi at Reis Magos, and is very much visible from the Panaji side of the Mandovi river. It was used as a residence for viceroys and later converted to a fortress. It was occupied briefly between 1798-1813 by the British army. It was subsequently abandoned by the military and served as a prison until recently.

The Reis Magos Fort, owned by the Goa government and listed under the Goa Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, is the oldest fort in Goa. It has been restored to serve as a Cultural and Heritage Centre. From its origin as a defense fortress, to being used as a jail and then a hospital, the fort has served the state since 1493. It was abandoned in 1993 and started showing signs of neglect and deterioration.This is when the late Mario Miranda, who was the convener of Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), approached Lady Hamlyn of the Helen Hamlyn trust (HHT) to fund the restoration of the fort.

Reis Magos Fort 1

This is an attempt to show how monuments can be used and what their regeneration can do to a community. It’s about making monuments come alive and be used by the city and the community. Heritage gives you a sense of who you are. It’s about identity.

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Lady Hamlyn The Restoration of the historically important Reis Magos Fort was initiated and paid for by The Helen Hamlyn Trust, working in partnership with the Government of Goa and INTACH. The fort was opened to the public on the 5th of June 2012 and is maintained and made available for the public benefit by The Reis Magos Heitage Centre, financially supported by the Government of Goa.

It is situated on the southeastern extremity of the tableland on the right bank of the Mandovi, in the province of Bardez, about two miles to the northeast of Fort Aguada. It was enlarged subsequently on different occasions, and finally re-erected in 1707. Though far inferior in size to the fortress of Mormugao, yet standing on an eminence, it commands, a splendid view all around.

It is in a good state of preservation, and is defended by 33 guns and accommodation for a small garrison. Towards the east, at a little distance from it, flows a spring with abundance of excellent water, while at its base rises the church of the Reis Magos, ascended by a beautiful flight of stairs.

This edifice was built on the ruins of a pagoda in 1550 by the Franciscans, with the sum allotted to them by the Government, and bears a crown on its façade, and the royal arms on its sanctuary and other places.

This Fort stands on the north bank of the Mandovi at Reis Magos, and is very much visible from the Panaji side of the Mandovi river. It was used as a residence for viceroys and later converted to a fortress. It was occupied briefly between 1798-1813 by the British army. It was subsequently abandoned by the military and served as a prison until recently.

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