St. Angelo’s Fort also known as Kannur Fort is a triangular shaped fort facing the Arabian Sea in Kannur. Situated in the Cantonment area of Kannur near the Govt. Hospital, 3 km away from Kannur town. St. Angelo’s Fort is one of the oldest fort in India build by the Europeans. Fort Immanuel at Fort Kochi, Built in 1503 is the oldest European fort in India. But Fort Immanuel is almost destroyed by the British and now only remnants can be seen on the Fort Kochi beach.
But St. Angelo’s Fort is fairly well preserved as a protected monument under the Archaeological Survey of India. St Angelo’s fort build using laterite stones, replete with a moat and flanking bastions is a most important historical monument and a popular tourist attraction. Now St. Angelo’s Fort remains as the oldest and well preserved European Fort in India. Six Tourism Policeman are posted here for protection duty.
Built in 1505 by Dom Francisco de Almeida, the first Portuguese Viceroy of India, St. Angelo’s Fort is one of the oldest fort in India build by the Europeans. The Fort became a strategic military base for the Portuguese navy.
During the Dutch invasion of 1663, the Portuguese were defeated and the fort was captured by the Dutch. They modernised the fort and built the bastions Hollandia, Zeelandia and Frieslandia that are the major features of the present structure. The original Portuguese fort was pulled down later.
Later in 1772, the Dutch sold the fort to King Ali Raja of Arakkal. In 1790 the British seized it and used it as their chief military station in Malabar until 1947. Today, the fort is a protected monument under the Archaeological Survey of India. A painting of this fort and the fishing ferry behind it can be seen in the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam.
Appearance and Ambience
The massive fort is triangular in shape and built of laterite. The moat, the strong, parallel bastions, the ammunition dumps, the underground jails and the secret tunnels stand testimony to the planning and the meticulous work that went into the construction of this strategic military base.
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A sea wall that projects from the fort separates the rough sea from the inland waters. Stables and an old dilapidated chapel can also be seen within the fort. Cannons pointing towards the sea through the openings on the massive walls will capture one’s attention.
The fort offers fascinating views of Moplah Bay, the natural fishing bay, and of Dharmadam Island, a 5 acres island situated 100 metres away from the mainland in the Arabian Sea near Muzhappilangad Drive-in Beach.
The fort offers fascinating view of a natural fishing bay and a sea wall projecting from the fort separating the rough sea and inland water.
In 2015, thousands of cannonballs weighing several kilos were discovered from the Fort premises. The Archaeological Survey of India, which led the excavation, believes these were buried as part of military preparedness.
The Moppila Bay Harbor and Arakkal Mosque are near the Fort. The Payyambalam beach is just 2 Km away from the Fort. Tourists are allowed entry to the fort every day of the week between 8 AM to 6 PM.