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Reis Magos Fort
Category : Forts Of Goa
Location  : Reis Magos
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Information courtesy,  Percival Noronha.

The Reis Magos Fort dramatically rising over the steep slope of a headland and situated a  little above an old outpost (built in 1493) had a defensive system capable of curbing the crossing of enemy ships through the Mandovi  waters. The high walls are topped at vantage points by cylindrical watch turrets,a distinctive feature of medieval fortifications. The fort had the advantage of  a perennial source of water from a nearby spring.

The fort of Reis Magos was of great strategic importance because it served as a first line of defense to the port town of Old Goa. To make it more effective against  the Dutch incursions,the Portuguese built  in 1595 another fortification on the opposite bank of Mandovi river on land belonging to a noble man named Gasper Dias.
The 2 forts were capable of cross fire . Soon however it was realised that these two strongholds were not an effective way of obstructing the Dutch ships in their daring attempts of cruising the Mandovi   waters. This prompted the Portuguese to raise strong fortifications on the mouths of  the Mandovi and Zuari rivers at Aguada,Cabo and Marmagoa  respectively.

Due to the strategic importance of Reis Magos fort extensive changes to the structure were carried out in the  year 1707 during the administration of  Caetano de Mello e Castro and was defended by 33 guns of different calibre.

During the Maratha incursion in 1739 the fort of Reis Magos and its counterpart the fort of Aguada could hold valiantly while the whole  province of Bardez was occupied by the Bhonsles ( allies of Marathas). It was only in 1741 with the arrival of the new viceroy, Marquis de Lourical that the Bhonsles  retreated back to pernem.  In 1798,the British are reported to have occupied the fort during the Napoleonic wars, till the turn of the century.

The threat of naval attacks decreased by the 19th century as also Old Goa was abandoned in favour of Panaji  as the capital and from then on the relevance of the fort decreased.

The Reis Magos Fort was converted to a sub-jail to lodge short term convicts;  it was also used to lodge some of the freedom fighters working  for the liberation of Goa when the movement  intensified in the 1950's. The fort functioned as a jail till 1993 and during this period a number of modifications were carried out. Once abandoned the fort fell into decay.

In 2007 ,a tripartite agreement was signed between the Government of Goa,INTACH and the Helen Hamlyn Trust to restore and re-use the fort as a cultural center. The restoration was sponsored by Helen Hamlyn Trust.

From  5th June 2012 the fort  was made  open  for public to enjoy a glimpse of Goa's past and her heritage.

Open- Tuesday to Sunday - 10.30am to 5.30pm

For  Mario Miranda fans the  art gallery inside the fort  houses a visual treat  showcasing a wide array of  Mario's  creative genius.

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location map of Reis Magos Fort

Related Links

» Aguada Fort» Terekhol Fort» Chapora Fort