History of Reis Magos Fort
The Reis Magos Fort was built by the Portuguese to secure their territory against invaders from the neighbouring states of Goa. However the fort was originally built by Sultan Adil Shah as an armed outpost in 1493 but later it was annexed by the Portuguese in 1760. It was used as a residence for viceroys and later converted to a fortress. It was occupied briefly between 1798 and 1813 by the British army. It was subsequently abandoned by the military and served as a prison until recently. The fort is now converted into a cultural centre, besides being used a tourist attraction.
Structure of Reis Magos Fort
The fort is constructed out of massive laterite fortifications studded with sentry towers. The fort has intensive high sloping walls on its sides looking out towards the river Mandovi wherein a walled corridor links the main fortress with the anchorage of the river. 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 bastion was used as a prison and is not open to the public. It is in a good state of preservation, and is defended by 33 guns and accommodation for a small garrison. The water supply is provided from a fresh water spring within the fortress and it has many underground rooms and passages.
Reis Magos Church
At the base of the fort the Reis Magos church has been built that adds charm to the village. The church is dedicated to St. Jerome and is popular for the colourful "Fiesta dos Reis Magos", a Feast of the Three Wise Men held on the 6th of January every year. The church is especially important from the point of view that this part of the village and the fort has got its name "Reis Magos" from it which symbolizes the Magi Kings, i.e. the Three Wise Men who went to Bethlehem after the shining star to bestow their gifts towards the Infant Jesus.