The St. Francis Church at Ernakulam is a famous Christian pilgrim center with beautiful architecture. The serene and peaceful ambience is another attraction of this holy site. This shrine is believed to be among the oldest churches in the country built by Europeans. The history of this pilgrim center dates back to AD 1503. This church, made of mud and wood, is situated in the middle of a fort that has been built by the Portuguese with the permission of the then Cochin Raja. The church was dedicated to St. Bartholomew but it later reconstructed and dedicated to St. Antonio, the patron saint of Portugal. It is one of the must-visit tourist attractions in the vibrant port city of Kochi.
The St. Francis Church at Ernakulam witnessed and survived several Europeans invasions. The Dutch placed their rostrum furniture and communion table and converted it to their church. They also constructed a Dutch cemetery near this pilgrim center. The church again renovated and renamed in 1886 after Dutch surrendered it to the British. This ancient holy spot has a lofty structure with a timber-framed gabled roof covered with tiles. The stepped pinnacles on both sides of the façade are very attractive. The church also has a very beautiful interior. Pilgrims can see the magnificence and old world charm on each and every element of St. Francis Church.