Beautifully situated in the state of Kerala, Southern India's port of Cochin has been a trading post since early Roman times, due to its strategic location between Europe and China. A natural harbour, it is separated from the mainland by seawater inlets and river estuaries which provide unforgettable boat trips amongst a host of tiny islands. Cochin boasts a wonderful array of architectural styles courtesy of its myriad invaders including the Portugues, Dutch and British. This fascinating cultural legacy includes a Jewish synagogue, Portuguese churches, mosques and Hindu temples. Don't miss the 19th century Mattancheri Palace built by the Raja of Kochi, the city-centre Mangalavanam bird sanctuary, the ruins of Fort Cochin and a stroll along the lovely beach scattered with unique Chinese fishing nets.
The Portuguese were the first European possessors of Cochin in 1500 and two years later the explorer Vasco da Gama erected a factory here. The English settled in the city in 1634 but were driven out by the Dutch, who subsequently developed it as an important centre of trade. During their conquest of India the British seized the town, but allowed the Dutch to administer it until 1814, when it became a possession of the East India Company.
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