Reis Magos Fort
To view and experience rich cultural heritage of Goa and modern/contemporary art exhibitions under the roof a historical fort is surely one of its kind experience that shouldn’t be missed by any art and history lover.
However, before restoration and modification of Reis Magos Fort had begun in year 2007, it was laying in complete ruined & damaged condition and was facing enormous threat of getting lost into oblivion forever. But, thankfully Government of Goa realized that this historical fort holds immense tourist potential for the state and eventually undertook renovation work with the help of a private trust, namely Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH). The renovation work lasted for staggering 5 years and was finally completed in 2012. It was opened for public in same year itself.
Today this fort owns many state-of-the-art exhibition halls where regularly contemporary art exhibitions are held and simultaneously showcases many historical paintings and artifacts that depict the history of Reis Magos Fort. Besides, a special open art gallery has also been designed inside this fort for showcasing 400 year history of Goa. And lastly don’t miss the prison cells, where freedom fighters belonging to Goa’s indepdence struggle were imprisoned.
History of Reis Magos FortWell, Goa does have decent number of forts, but amongst these Goa’s state government only chose to restore yesteryear glory of Reis Magos Fort. This purely because no other fort played as much important role in shaping the destiny of Goa.
This 400 year old fort was actually constructed by Yusuf Adil Shah – king of Bijapur Sultante – in year 1493. However, during those days this fort was merely a small army outpost, which was mainly constructed to defend Adil Shah Empire from any possible sea attack coming from Mandovi River. This small army post, though, failed to defend attack by Portuguese king Alphonso de Albuqueque, who on his second attempt succeeded in capturing this small fort.
Seizing this fort was truly a turning point for Portuguese, as they got complete control of old Goa. But, more so because they cashed in on strategic location of this fort by expanding and fortifying it. As a result, by the end of 16th century this fort had literally become citadel of Portuguese Empire and helped them to maintain complete supremacy over Goa for next two centuries or so.
In fact had not been for this fort, Portuguese would have lost entire control of old Goa to Marathas during 18th century. As when Marathas got complete control of Bardez town, Portuguese made this fort into an important military base for launching attack on Marathas and eventually succeeded in ousting them from Goa. During 19th century this fort also served as residential complex for many British soldiers, as British and Portuguese had signed an agreement to jointly defend Goa from any foreign attack.
However, by the end of 19th century importance of this fort had declined to great extent. Mainly because Portuguese authority shifted their capital to a new city. This city was Panaji, which is still the capital of Goa. The fort, though, assumed huge importance during 20th century when hundreds of freedom fighters belonging to Goa Liberation Movement were imprisoned here. Today these prisons have been renovated and converted into a museum.
All in all, Reis Magos Fort witnessed some of the greatest events in the history of Goa. Events that literally changed and redefined the fate and fortunate of this coastal city. And today as this historical fort has been converted into a cultural and heritage center, it gives that rare opportunity to all of us to relive those important historical events.
Reaching Reis Magos FortReis Magos Fort falls in Reis Magos village, from which this fort and even the famous Reis Magos Church derives its name. Reis Magos Village is actually located in Bardez town of old Goa, which is barely few kilometers from Panaji city. Auto rickshaws and motorcycle taxis are readily available from Panaji or for that matter any part of Goa for Reis Magos village. Below we’ve also given complete address and contact information of Reis Magos Fort.
Goa - India. 403 114,
Phone no: +91 (0832) 2904649,