One of the oldest churches built by Europeans in India, St Francis Church is known for its beautiful design and ambience. Boasting a lofty structure with a gable roof framed with timber and covered with tiles, the church has two steeped pinnacles on either side of the facade. It was built by Portuguese Franciscans friars group in 1503. Initially, it was a mud and wooden structure and was dedicated to St Bartholomew, and later to St Antonio, the patron saint of Portugal. In 1524, on his third visit to Kerala, the Portuguese explorer, Vasco da Gama, who reached India from Europe by sea, fell ill and died in Kochi. He was buried in St Francis Church. About 14 years later, his remains were taken back to Portugal. His burial spot inside the church has been demarcated.


Protected under the Archeological Survey of India (ASI), the church is open to visitors on weekdays. On Sundays and special days, the church holds services.

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