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Muziris was a prosperous seaport and financial centre in the 1st Century B.C. Believed to have been washed under the sea during the 1341 AD Periyar river flood, Muziris was a key link in the Indo-Roman Empire and Indo-Greek trade routes. Muziris drew legions of Roman, Greek, Chinese, Jewish and Arab traders from across the sea, whose influences, architectural and cultural, are still to be found in the area.
In fact, the archaeological and historical data gathering on ‘Muziris’ provides evidence to show that it was a veritable business and cultural centre, with far reaching international associations dating back more than 2000 years. The region is unique as it is said to be home to India’s first church (Mar Thoma church), first mosque (Cheraman Juma Masjid), one of the first Jewish synagogue and the oldest European monument (Portuguese fort).
Today, the area is replete with numerous monuments from this era which speak volumes of its rich heritage. These archaeological sites are currently being excavated and restored by conservation architects with the support of the Government under the Muziris Heritage Project. These activities also involve local communities and encompasses wider development goals. The focus is to make a significant difference through conservation, restoration, environmental projects, research, development of crafts and art forms, occupation and other community activities. This includes a revival of traditional crafts such as handlooms, pottery, mat making, coir industry and toddy tapping. The potential for tourism is also being studied.