St. Francis Church
St. Francis Church, in Fort Kochi, originally built in 1503, is the oldest European church in India and has great historical significance as a mute witness to the European colonial struggle in the subcontinent. The famous Portuguese explorer, Vasco da Gama died in Kochi in 1524 when he was on his third visit to India. His body was originally buried in this church, but after fourteen years his remains were removed to Lisbon.
Vasco de Gama, explored and discovered the sea route from Europe to India, landed at Kappad near Kozhikode (Calicut) in 1498.Pedro Álvares Cabraland Afonso de Albuquerque, followed him. They built a fort at Kochi with permission from the Raja of Cochin. Within the fort, they built a church with a wooden structure, which was dedicated to St. Bartholomew. The neighbourhood is now known as Fort Kochi. The gravestone of Vasco da Gama can still be seen here. It is on the ground at the southern side. The gravestones of other Portuguese are on the northern sidewall and the Dutch on the southern wall.