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Forts & Monuments

Goa Tourism Guide > Goa > Forts & Monuments

Compared to Indian standards, Goan forts are very small in size. Nonetheless, these were of immense military, political and economic importance in a land crisscrossed by rivers and canals and bordered by sea on the west. Where smooth passage of trade vessels was vital to economy, the control of these forts in fact determined the economic and political fate and stability of the rulers. Many forts built in the 16th century are situated at vantage points on the banks or faces of the rivers and the sea, controlling the passage of vessels.

The old monuments, now in ruins due to neglect, disuse, vandalism and natural destruction, are mute testimony to the joys and sorrows, and colourful and dark events of a bygone era. Some are awesome in sheer size like the ruins of the St. Augustine’s Tower,
while others are marvellous pieces of architecture, e.g. the Gate of the Adil Shah’s Palace at Old Goa. In this module, we unravel these silent spectators of history.
18 kms. From Panaji and situated on a headland of the river Mandovi, this strongest fort of Goa was built by the Portuguese in 1609-1612, to command the entry into the river Mandovi, in order to protect Old Goa from potential enemy attacks. A spring within the fort provided water supply to the ships that called there, giving it the name "Aguada" (meaning ‘water’ in Portuguese). On the northern side, it provides a harbour for local shipping. The fort, at present, houses the central jail. A 19th century built lighthouse is situated inside the fortress.
The southern most Goan fort, it is situated about 25 kms. South of Margao and about two hours’ walk from the nearest road head. This very old fortress, now in ruins, was built before the arrival of the Portuguese. A view from the boat offers a nostalgic experience.
Built in 1540 AD opposite Fort Aguada on the south headland of the river Mandovi, this fortress housed the Franciscan monastery which later (1594 AD) became the official residence of the governor of Goa. It is an elegant mansion.

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