Paliam Nalukettu

Muziris Heritage Project

 

Muziris, in the Ernakulam and Thrissur districts of Kerala, was an active port in the 1st century BC where Chinese, Arabs, Jews, Greeks, and Romans came to trade. Similarly, although the Portuguese, Dutch, and British too initially came to trade, they soon became part of the internal power struggles between Travancore, Kochi, Calicut, and the Mysore kingdoms, and eventually went on to become colonizers. All of them have left their imprints on the region. The historical monuments and materials made available through recent excavations establish it as a unique location to tell the story of 3000 years of Kerala, a story of coexistence and sharing.

The Government of Kerala with the support of the Government of India embarked on the Muziris Heritage Project (MHP), which encompasses a vast area around the ancient port of Muziris, including various historically and culturally important monuments like India’s first mosque, one of the earliest synagogues, and the oldest surviving European monument in India. The MHP focuses on retrieving the historical heritage of this cultural region through various initiatives, including historical research, archaeological excavations, integrated heritage conservation, and tourism development, providing public access to historic buildings and sites within the framework of a public-private partnership model. This project has set a precedent in India for adopting an integrated approach to heritage conservation and regional development.