Forts of Sri Lanka
The richest and unique history of Sri Lanka
of the era of colonial conquest by Europeans is inseparable from the numerous forts that were built here by the Portuguese, then by the Dutch, and finally by the British. Any itinerary of a traveler on the island is inextricably linked to visiting at least one of these historical heritage of the country. Traveling to Sri Lanka
without visiting the forts really seems incomplete, and even not to visit at least one of these stone witnesses of history is simply impossible. The concentration of forts in Sri Lanka in comparison with its territory is so great that our country can be attributed to states with one of the most numerous forts in the world.
team highlighted the most vivid and visited forts of our country. Turning to the historical reference given here, your visit to these magnificent historical buildings of Sri Lanka will become even more fascinating.
Fort in Batticaloa
The fort lies on one of the many small islands Batticaloa
on the east coast of Sri Lanka. It was built by the Portuguese in 1628. Much later, during the expansion of the Dutch in Batticaloa, their troops tried to land here. This enraged the Portuguese, who had a strong position on the island. They built a small fortress in 1628, which was still conquered by the Dutch in 1638, when King Rajasinha of the Kingdom of Kandy asked the Dutch to drive the Portuguese out of the country. The fort was architecturally changed in 1772 after it was surrendered to the British. Now the fort is a structure of four bastions and is guarded from the sea from 2 sides and a moat from the other 2 sides. The fort has an important religious significance: the oldest of Buddhist stupas and Chatra of the 1st century BC. the era of the kingdom of Ruhuna
and the King Kavantissa are located here.
The island Fort of Delft in Jaffna
Originally, this island was named in honor of the Portuguese Elijah das Vakas. The Dutch called it Delft Island. Tamils call it the Neduntivu. This is the largest island in the Strait of Polk in the north of Sri Lanka
Very little is left of the former fort today. But the book «Romantic Ceylon: Its Legends and History» by Ralph Henry Bassett describes the fort and the island in details.
"… The traces of the Portuguese administration of Delft remain in the ruins of the fortress, which is undoubtedly built by them, since the Dutch military architecture was more modern, a very strongly fortified two-story dwelling, about fifty square yards in area, with a double central wall of enormous thickness. This wall completely cuts the fort in half at the ground level, and the only means of communication on the ground floor are defensive structures of that period and general communications. As a result, this is a very complex co The rifle, full of long narrow and small square rooms.
The staircase is adapted to double walls and leads to what should have been a flat roof, judging by the footprints of rosette sockets in the masonry. In one corner is a dungeon, a small room with a floor, below the ground level. Without a door, and has only one small window about two square feet, leading deep into the fortress. Unfortunate prisoners had to jostle here, or penetrate down through the hatch in the floor above, which could only be obtained with the help of a rope; very many must have met their death in this small cell. There is one large room that looks like a cabin and a large number of small bedrooms connected by corridors.
The Dutch built barracks about a quarter of a mile from the fort in arid areas. This beautiful large residency is now used as a government bungalow. The barracks were surrounded by a wall, most of which still stands on an area of about two square yards. One of the barracks still exists, although part of the wall fell almost to the ground level. The most striking building is the Dutch dovecote still in a state of perfect repair. It is made of coral stone, with a solid base about eight square feet… "
, which was called by the Dutch Kalpentin or Kalpetti — a narrow strip of land that extends to the north by about 50 kilometers behind Puttalam
, parallel to the mainland. In the extreme tip of the peninsula is Kalpitiya Fort, which, after a long time of neglect, slowly collapsed, but is now the naval base of Sri Lanka.
The fort was built in 1667, at the place where the Portuguese noticed a Jesuit chapel. The walls are about 4 meters high, and inside there are the remains of a chapel, a commander's house, barracks, prisons and several buildings that have been resolved.
Between the village wall and Fort Kalpitiya
the old church in emergency condition with a small cemetery. Inside, it's pretty empty. The only object inside is a heavy stone. Several nominal tombstones in the floor tell about the people buried here. The building probably was repaired around 1840, when a semi-circular porch with brick pillars and plaster corinthian capitals were added to it, as well as three spiers on the front of the building. The roof of the porch then collapsed. The belfry is original and similar to the found similar bell towers in Galle
. At the turn of the 20th century, bells from the bell tower along with all the furniture from the church were taken from the Anglican church in Puttalam.
At the time of the Dutch rule, the length of service in the church and the fortress security were manned by Dutch soldiers, and this was a lively place for regional trade. Trades were dealt with by the Moors and Muslims who crossed the coastal waters in small dhoni boats (as now in the Maldives), although the Dutch often tried to restrict their arrival. For them, the main importance of this outpost was strategic. There was not a suitable port and there were never a lot of people in this area. Through the water on the mainland, which is visible from a distance, only the forest, now the park Vilpattu. The Dutch company occupied Kalpitiya mainly in the interests of the King Rajasinha, who was choking on the pressure, because from Kalpitia it was possible to control the trade of the king between Ceylon and India. Thus, the Dutch won a monopoly on the cinnamon trade from here and from Mannar
, a bit to the north of Kalpitiya. From here the Dutch intercepted all British ships sent to Ceylon from their factories in India.
There were numerous coconut plantations in Kalpitiya, and the mouth was full of fish, which was salted and dried. Products were delivered by local boats along the mouth to Puttalam, and from there through the channel Negombo
— in Colombo.
On the peninsula of Kalpitiya there is a statue of St. Anne, which, it is believed, can work miracles. From the middle of the 19th century, she began to gather large crowds of pilgrims from Sri Lanka from all religions under the auspices of the St. Anne festival on July 26 of each year. Today there is a large complex with parking for buses and accommodation for pilgrims, who, as a rule, remain on the peninsula for festivities for several days.
Fort Frederick in Trincomalee
, being a natural deep-water port, has attracted seafarers since ancient times. Among them, Marco Polo, Ptolemy and the host are a trader from China and East Asia. Trinco, as it is commonly called, was a seaport even in the days of the ancient kings of Sri Lanka. The earliest known reference to the port of Gokanna is found in the Mahavamsa chronicle, which refers to the 5th century BC. Then King Vijaya, who, having failed to convince his brother to come to Sri Lanka as his successor, received from him the sent younger son Panduvasdeva. Panduvasdeva landed at the port of Gokanna, and afterwards the ball was elevated to the Upatissagama throne.
Fort Frederick was built by the Portuguese in Trincomalee
in 1624. It was built from the ruins of an ancient Hindu temple, which was destroyed by the Portuguese. The fort was captured by the Dutch fleet under the command of Admiral Westerwold in 1639, and until 1665 served as a new fort to protect the British and French.
In 1672, when the Dutch Republic was attacked by France, Great Britain and two German states, the French captured Trincomalee, and later occupied Batticaloa. However, soon the French were forced to leave these territories.
At the end of the 18th century, the French captured the fort of Trincomalee again, and then after the conclusion of the Paris Peace in 1784, in 1795 it was captured by the British, and remained a British garrison until 1948 for purposes, including coastal artillery defense during the two world wars. At the same time, guns were added to the fort. Today, the garrison detachment of the army of Sri Lanka is based here. Fort Frederic is open to the public, here is one of the main attractions of Trincomalee — the Temple of Koneshwaram, which lies inside the fort.
Fort Oestenburg in Trincomalee
Legend has it that King Rajasinha II, who ruled the country for 52 years (1635-1687) built a fort in Trincomalee
There is a common belief that Fort Frederick was built by the King Rajasinha. The king wanted to build a fortress in Trincomalee
in order to hide from the threat of the Portuguese. But by that time, the Portuguese had already built a small fortress on the hill, where Fort Frederick is currently located.
King Rajasinha wanted to get rid of the Portuguese at any cost, and was forced to seek help from the Dutch to expel the Portuguese.
The Portuguese built a fort in Trincomalee in 1623, at a time when the King of the Senarate ruled the country from Kandy. The Dutch entered into an agreement with the king as far back as 1612, having obtained permission to build Fort Koddiyar (Mutura), but the Portuguese in Trincomalee destroyed the partially constructed fort.
The Dutch officer, in a letter to Governor-General Antonio Van Dimon on December 31, 1638, noted that the fort of Trincomalee was built of rather hard stones on the basis of an old pagoda around a hillock. On each side there are sandy and stony bays, as on the peninsula.
The Portuguese were finally expelled from the country in 1658.
Employees of the Archaeological Department of Sri Lanka several years ago visited Fort Ostenburg, located in the naval shipyard, and identified it as the Fort originally built by King Rajasinha. It seems that while King Rajasinha was building a fortress on the hill of Ostenburg, the Dutch turned to him, offering their services to expel the Portuguese.
However, in the end, King Rajasinha gave up, and the construction of the fort remained unfinished.
The architecture of Fort Ostenburg is more Asian than the architecture of the Kandy era. It seems that King Rajasinha never used this fort, although later conquerors — the Dutch used it to save their souls from the invasion of the English. Fort Ostenburg is built at the peak of the ridge, but is now hidden among the thickets. Some of the elders who served in the navy at the present time, only heard about this fort.
The Dutch, who felt safe, expelling the Portuguese, destroyed the Trincomalee Fort. It should be noted that Fort Frederick, known as Fort Trincomalee, was much smaller in size before the Dutch did not expand it to the present size, calling the Pagoda Hill.
The British, who were then at war with Holland and France, had plans to capture Trincomalee in order to expand the territory of the British East India Company and the command of the Eastern World. January 5, 1782 British troops landed in the bay, but were captured in Fort Trincomalee.
Three days later, Admiral Edward Hughes called on the Dutch to surrender, and sent for this purpose the chief engineer major Geli. Soldiers of the engineer Geli carried out an excellent reconnaissance and later suggested a plan for the disarmament of the Dutch.
The British attacked Fort Oestenburg, but managed to capture the hill only 300 yards from the fort. The next day the British entered through the lower fort, losing 1 officer and 20 privates, and 2 officers and 40 rank-and-file wounded.
The British captured the fort by nine Englishmen and 350 people from the captives of the Chinese and Malays. They also captured 62 guns.
Fort Oestenburg was not as important as Fort Frederick, from where the Europeans commanded the whole East. Fort Ostenburg was mainly used as a residence for the garrison commanders. It is known that there were underground facilities for officers who commanded Trincomalee.
The British finally captured Trincomalee on August 26, 1795, and in 1800 in Fort Oestenburg there were about 50 guns. It seems that both the Dutch and the British used the fort, which was originally built by King Rajasinha, well. The place where Fort Oestenburg stands was later used by the British Admiralty as a tracking and location station during the Second World War.
Fort Hammenhiel in Jaffna
is located on a small rocky island at the entrance to the lagoon of Jaffna
. The fort was built by the Portuguese in the middle of 1618 from the butovy corals and was named Fort Fortaleza. After a 3-month siege, the Dutch captured him in 1658 and renamed him Hammenhiel. In 1680, the fort was rebuilt and built around a small island between the island of Kites Karaitivu and Jaffna Peninsula
The journal of the Dutch Union of Burgessers of Ceylon from April 1940 described in detail the fort.
"… The fort stands on a rock at the entrance to the lagoon of Jaffna
, and is surrounded by of all sides by the sea.In forgotten days of turmoil, Hammenhiel served in the north as Manar
Fort in the south to guard the passage through the water to the castle and the key to Fort Jaffna.
The fort has an octagonal shape, and the base of the ramparts is washed by waves.… The walls were originally raised and the site was fortified by the order of the Portuguese governor of Jaffna
Antonio do Smaralde Mendes a few years before the arrival of the Dutch. The historian Baldeus, who accompanied the Dutch army to attack Jaffna
, gives a brief description of the blockade and the attack on Hammenhiel by the fleet. The Portuguese held out for two weeks, but were obliged to surrender for want of water.
When the Dutch occupied this fort on the water, they discovered that the sandy base on which he had built the fort had long been washed up due to storms during the northeast monsoon. The Dutch have all fixed and installed breakwaters of stones. The Portuguese built hollow shafts, and that under the roof — from beams supported on the floor of stone. The premises were used to store ammunition.
… When the guns were moved, which the Dutch then considered a mistake, they replaced the roof with a stone arch.
Finally, using the mistakes of their predecessors, the Dutch made special efforts to ensure satisfactory water supply. On the northern side of the fortress, they built a huge reservoir paved with «Dutch bricks» to collect and preserve rainwater. This reservoir, however, was built too high. The defect was noted again and again on subsequent inspections of the fortress, but since it was a new structure, it was allowed to remain until further larger changes. This, however, the reservoir acts as the original construction to this day, keeping a stock of clean and fresh water.
A low vaulted gateway, no more than seven feet in height, is the only entrance to this fort. The living quarters consist of 3 or 4 rooms in the yard. Vaults under the shafts were used as storage facilities. The Dutch invariably supported here a garrison of 30 men and a chief in the rank of lieutenant. The Dutch governors give this very special mention in their memoirs.
… In recent years, this place is about half a mile from Karaitivu and one mile from the Kites, was used as an infectious hospital. Thanks to isolation and freshness, it was hardly possible to find a better goal. "
Fortunately, as a hospital, the fort did not last long, and after 1948 it became the property of the Sri Lankan authorities.
After the defeat of the LTTE, this fort was transformed into one of the best and original Sri Lanka's Boutique Hotels
, which is presented in Lankarus.
From very early times, Hanwella was one of the main tourist routes used for traveling to Kandy.
In 1521, when King Mayadunne (1521 — 1581) founded the Kingdom of Sithavaka in Avissawela, fortifying Hanwella to defend himself from the Kingdom of Kotte and the Portuguese invaders who occupied Fort Colombo.
At the end of the Kingdom of Sithawaka in 1594, the Portuguese seized Sithawaka and built a fortress in Hanwella in 1597, using European architecture for the fortress.
The Dutch, landed in Sri Lanka in 1602, seized the Hanwell fortress from the Portuguese and built a large and beautiful fortress, completing it in 1684.
After 1786, Hanwella Fort passed under British rule and several battles with the armies of kings Kandy
took place just around Fort Hanwella.
Percival's reports from 1800 mention that the Rest House was built inside the Fort Hanwella.
On December 17, 1875, King Edward VII, Prince of Wales, planted a tree of Jackfruit, which is still growing in the Rest House at home. Around the tree are two stone seats that were used by the royal people who were present at the ceremony of planting the Jackfruit tree. This tree grows even today.
Hanwell has been used since the beginning of the Anuradhapura
period as Ford at the crossing of the river Kelaniya
, and later the Fort was built on the same site for the safety of the ford.
After the death of King Vijayabahu VI (1518 — 1521), the Kingdom of Kotte was divided into three kingdoms, and King Mayadunne, the youngest of the royal family, founded the Kingdom of Sithava. He, as we have already mentioned, built a new fortress in Hanwella.
The ruins of the fort can be seen today on the territory of the House of Rest.
The business district Colombo
, with government buildings, banks and other commercial enterprises, with 5-star hotels and department stores, still called «Fort», because this is the place that was once Fort. Fort Colombo, which, same as Forts in Jaffna
, was a truly fortified city, demolished in 1870 in the interests of the city's development. Today, nothing remains, but its shape on aerial photographs, a grid of streets, some parts of the walls, a hospital, a lone gate, are hidden among modern high-rise buildings. Now it is hardly recognizable details of the governor's house and some details. Of course, today historical remains are more highly valued, as historical monuments and as tourist attractions, so most of the buildings that have remained since the time of the fort were recently renovated. The most important of them are outside the original Fort.
After the attack of the Portuguese fort of Colombo in 1656, the Dutch partially destroyed it, but restructured and improved the western part, taking advantage of the location between the lake and the sea. On the station square there was a wide ditch connected to a lake that was swarming with crocodiles, and for which Pett became the haven of the Dutch command. The old Portuguese walls and bastions were demolished. The fort was connected to Pettah via Koningstraat, now the main street that began at the East Gate, and, crossing the moat across the bridge, between the sea and Pettah, and ended at the Cayman Gate, where the Portuguese gate used to be. From there the road led along the Kelani river to Hanwella.
There were nine bastions: Leiden, Delft and Horn on the station square, Den Bril and Amsterdam on Westside and Rotterdam, Middleburg, Cloppenburg and Enghuisen on the south side. On the west side, at the cape to the north, there were two batteries: the Battenberg battery and the spirit level. On the north side was a port that was not much larger than a wide road, since there was then no bay. Because of the monsoon, the harbor was safe only from December to April. The remaining 8 months of the year the ships arrived on the Sri Lanka coast in Trincomalee and Galle. On the eastern side, the land between the moat and Pettah was flooded, opening locks in the lake. Now it's Lake Beira, possibly from de Beer, by the name of locks.
Colombo Fort was a fortified city, with administrative and military buildings, as well as cinnamon warehouses, factories, churches, residential buildings and stalls for horses and elephants. The streets were planted with rows of trees for a shadow. The houses inside the fort and in Pettah were based on standard plans that evolved from houses in Holland, but were adapted to the tropical climate to provide shade and ventilation. They had an extended roof, verandas, windows in the shade, widely spaced columns, a door with a high decorated transom, high ceilings, halls with doors leading to the bedrooms, and a living room leading to the back porch. The veranda led into the yard with trees, surrounded by the wings of the protruding houses. Houses, as a rule, one-storeyed, had whitewashed walls and red tiled roofs, which, as a rule, suffered greatly from the attention of crows and monkeys.
In 1694 about 400 families lived in Colombo, with an average of 8 people in the family, which included slaves. Slaves accounted for slightly more than half of the population, while 54% were Europeans. Many men were married to Sinhalese or Portuguese women. In the 18th century this group of people increased to several thousand. There were families who lived on the island for five generations. After the arrival of the British, many of them were left to work as civil servants for the British colonial administration. They eventually forgot Dutch, and took English, but were, and are still known as Dutch burghers. They had Dutch names and often quite different European traits. They were often wealthy and held high positions in the society, such as lawyers, doctors and scientists, and are separated from the «common people». Their high-class lifestyle and outsidering caused some dissatisfaction among the Sinhalese. When the British left the island, most of the Burghers emigrated to Australia, the USA and Canada, after gaining independence of the government during the 1950s and 60s.
In the 18th and 19th centuries Colombo
became a melting pot of cultures. Pettah expanded to the east and south for several kilometers and contained many commercial enterprises of all kinds. The Englishman wrote in 1803: "Colombo
, for its size, one of the most densely populated places in India. Nothing is more vividly part of the world where so many languages are used, or contains such a mixture of nations, customs and religions. " Another Englishman wrote in 1859: «Most of the Sinhalese in Colombo are often artisans and servants, and merchants, retailers are Moors, Malays. Here there are all — soldiers and servants, workers and Tamils — coolies, and excavators and pioneers. Most of the Portuguese descendants are made up of impoverished craftsmen and servants… Dutch Citizens are mainly engaged in mercantile aspirations, and they fill places in every administrative institution… With them, the whole system of government comes into effect on the orders of civilian officials. The English themselves began to take up residence in the cinnamon gardens and the village of Kolpetti on the coast, on the other side of the lake. Colombo would be a good place to live if it were possible to adapt to humidity and mosquitoes.»
Located on the south side of Jaffna peninsula
on the edge of the water of the lagoon, the ancient Jaffna Fort is the second the largest existing fort on the island. Originally built by the Portuguese in 1619 and reconstructed and enlarged by the Dutch in the second half of the 17th and 18th centuries, the fort shows not only the strategic importance of Jaffna
for Europeans, but also about its importance for the history of Sri Lanka.
5 unilateral internal defensive structures consist of thick and high ramparts and bastions with a wide and deep moat around. The fort resembles a geometrically regular pentagon, which is determined by the bastion shafts at each corner of the pentagon. In addition to these defensive structures, there is a moat in the shape of a star, the outline of which reaches approximately to the next bastion and the Rampart wall.
Unlike the Dutch forts in the Galle
, which were fortified cities, Jaffna Fort performed almost exclusively military and administrative functions. The fort is the only surviving example in Sri Lanka, where the inner defensive walls have the correct geometric layout of the pentagon. In addition, this is the only example on the island where external fortifications, consisting of glacis, ravelines were seen.
Nelson wrote in his book entitled «The Dutch forts in Sri Lanka» (1984):
«It was a place as a technical fort,… everything was done on the structures at each successive stage… The final result was the strongest fortress in the East, the perfect design of artillery defenses and an effective range.In the UK, completely comparable places can only be found in the towns of Berwick, Fort George in neat Inverness, the Plymouth Citadel in Tilbury Fort on the Thames on approach to London… There are many fine artillery fortifications of the same period around the Indian Ocean., hardly in this technical perfection and completeness, Jaffna
surpasses everyone! Together with the fortress is an important architectural building.The church was erected in 1706, it was one of the most impressive architectural works of the northern region.This building, in which there is no significant ornament, showed how effective the building architecture could be if proportions (like external, and the interior), and the massing volumes are correctly achieved.
… The Queen's House (formerly, the governor's residence) is the best example of the internal potential of the northern region, which is represented by its best architectural features developed during the 17th and 18th centuries in Sri Lanka ...»
Jaffna Fort with such meanings of national and international heritage, however, was not in an ideal state of preservation. Fortifications and buildings in the fort were heavily damaged due to artillery fire during the civil war in the 1980s. The church now comes down to a pile of rubble.
Typically, colonial forts in Sri Lanka were built in coastal areas to protect entry points, such as ports, from invading forces. But there are some forts that were built inside the country. They had to protect lowland land from the Kingdom of Kandy in the mountains.
While Kandy did not fall under the British onslaught in 1815, it was an independent kingdom that refused to bow before the colonial powers that had waged victories on the coastal strip of Sri Lanka. Therefore, the Dutch and the Portuguese built several fortresses on the foothills bordering on the Kingdom of Kandy. Katuvana Fort is located in Katuvana, district Hambantota
. It was built in 1645 by the Dutch.
According to historical reports, Fort had two bastions, which could accommodate 12 guns, quarters, shops, theaters, pharmacies, stairs, etc. This fort was captured and partially destroyed by the troops of the Kingdom of Kandy in 1761 during the uprising in Matar. The main door of the fort can now be found in Maduwanawala Walawwa today.
With the conquest of the kingdom of Kandy by the British in 1815, the fortress lost its strategic importance, and was abandoned forever. Fortunately, this fort is now restored in its ancient glory with the help of the Dutch government. It can be easily reached from Midneniya, the fortune in turn can be accessed either from Panama or directly from Embibipitya
. This place is only an hour's drive from the Lankarus
Built on the island of Mannar
by the Portuguese in 1560, Mannar Fort surrendered to the Dutch on February 22 1658goda and was rebuilt by the Dutch in 1696. October 5, 1795 the Dutch surrendered to the British.Mannar
Fort has four bastions, and they are still in good condition, although The building inside the fort was not preserved properly. Currently, the Sri Lankan police occupy this fortress.
Martello Tower in Hambantota
Despite the fact that the Martello Tower in Hambantota occupies a small area, this building is considered as a defensive and watchtower. Visitors to the historic port city Hambantota
will see the Martello Tower on top of the seaside cape.
This defensive and watchtower is a survivor of the colonial era, considered a Dutch fortification, but in fact it was built by Captain Goper, an army engineer during the time of British rule.
The Martello Tower (from Martello in Corsica, where the fortification of this kind produced strong resistance to the British naval forces in 1794) is a small circular fort shape, with thick walls, and an embrasure of viewing places on top, weapons and living space in the room. The building consists of three floors.
Anyone looking at the sea from the top of the Martello Tower could see 25 miles deep into the Indian Ocean. This is the only such construction in Sri Lanka, and one of the few in the world! In Europe, come across only a few such towers in countries such as France and Germany, while others were destroyed by wars or destroyed by time.
At the initiative of the Minister of Fisheries and Mahinda Rajapaksa, this historical monument was transformed into a fishing museum in 1999 as a measure to preserve this unique colonial structure. In a couple of years, in the absence of proper maintenance and care, this relic of the colonial era was abandoned and is now in a deplorable state.
The Martello Tower is, above all, a reference point for archaeological excavations in Hambantota
Kaccheri. Since the Martello Tower in Hambantota is the legacy of our colonial history
, it is important that the authorities take action soon enough to protect and preserve the monument for descendants.
Star Fort Matara
The old town of Matara is located on the land language between the ocean and the green lagoon. The fort is under the protection of the Station Square, with a thick 13 meter shaft. On all other sides it is not protected in addition to the natural water barrier. The thickness of the shaft is impressive when you stand on it, but it does not give much to see. The gateway is disfigured by road signs, posters, banners, and postings, and on the upper part of the shaft a modern clock tower is built. The bastion on the coast was demolished to make way for a coastal road that leads to the city.
Outside the walls is an empty field, which was planted with trees in the Dutch time. Now the children play cricket here. On the left is the Guest House, and the buildings in the right-hand corner, next to the river, are occupied by the police. On the other side of the field is a pretty church. Behind the door there is a date — 1769 year. This was a year of serious damage during the Matara Revolt, but later everything was repaired. Here you will find a resemblance to the church in Kalpitiya, in which the columns frame the veranda on the sides, containing doorways.
Outside the city there were four stalls for elephants, which could hold up to 80 elephants, as well as a reservoir where elephants washed. Matara was the center of trade of elephants. There are no traces of this left. At the end of the land language today is a small fishing village with tall palms.
The lagoon leaves the Nilwala River. Across the bridge is the Star Fort built after the uprising. It is a small, in the form of a star, fortress with a well inside and with very thick walls. This fort was built, because Matara Fort was an unforgivable structure, which was noted by the governor in 1717. During the uprising of 1762, the fort was conquered by the army of Kandy, by bombarding the city with cannonballs, which had flung walls. After the attack, the cannons were turned off, destroying ammunition and food, and the Kandy garrison was evacuated on two ships that were waiting at sea. Only a year later he was beaten off by the Dutch, who found eight guns on the walls.
So, the Star Fort was built in 1763. The walls were originally protected by fortifications in the ground, 8 meters wide, and between these fortifications and the walls was a moat, over which was a stretched drawbridge to give access to the gate. In the walls are ring low buildings that could contain ammunition and a small garrison. The fort has a decorated gate with a monogram of the East India Company, surrounded by two lions. After the fort fell into decay, it was recently completely restored and now it is a museum.
Fort was largely destroyed by cannons during the Dutch siege in 1644 year. The Dutch fort was built on its ruins, and the fort had only four bastions, the fifth was not completed.
— home to the largest Catholic community in Sri Lanka, inherited from The Portuguese, who diligently spread Catholicism along the entire western coast. Portuguese names are abundant here, although people have nothing in common with the blood of the Portuguese. Their ancestors took Portuguese names when they were baptized. In the Dutch time Negombo was important, because high-quality cinnamon grew in this area, but with the disappearance of cinnamon trade, the city lost its former importance.
The fort was located on a narrow strip of land between the lagoon and the exit to the sea. It was surrounded by moats and gates, accessible through a drawbridge. Facing with a familiar rectangular scheme of streets that were protected by ramparts. The area to the west was regularly flooded by the sea, changing the landscape of the land on which the fort stood on the peninsula. Governor Rumpf described the fort as «subtle structures» when he visited it in 1720, and the artist Heydt, who painted it in 1744, was less impressed and believes that the fortress could be built a little more solidly.
Governor Rumpf visited Negombo
Fort to see the improvements that were made to his arrival. Walls were poured, new towers were built on bastions, a large bell tower was built above the gate. Fort in its new magnificence appeared before the eyes of the governor in 1720.
Today there are only ruins left. The fort was demolished in the late 19th century by the British, who used stones to build a prison. The main remainder is a dual mound, and part of the eastern wall from the side of the main gate gives an entrance to the tunnel that opens into what was once a courtyard. The clock tower behind him was added to Queen Victoria's jubilee.
In the city you can see some of the Dutch canals built to facilitate the transportation of goods and spices throughout the country. Channels are still used by local people.
Fort Sithawaka and the Rajasinhe Palace I
Sitawaka was built in the kingdom of King Mayadunne (1521-1581), which occupied this area after the assassination of his father, King Vijayabahu VI. Very little left of the Kingdom of Sithawaka today. The palace of the Sithavak kingdom stood on the bank of Sithawaka River on the opposite bank from Barendi Kovil. The Portuguese, who seized the Kingdom of Sithawaka, destroyed the palace and built a small fortress on this place.
Unfortunately, this fort was also destroyed by the British, who dismantled everything for construction materials to build a rest home here.
The ruins of the fort are described in the book «The Story of Ceylon and Its Residents» by Dr. John Davy, surgeon and physician of Governor Brownrigg. The story was published in 1821.
"… Recently, several remains of the building have been discovered. In June 1819, while traveling here for the third time, I was led by the natives to an old fortress, hidden by trees, located on the tip of a lofty land formed as a result of the merging of a small deep stream with a river… We came to a building that I found almost square, formed of three walls, one inside the other.
The walls were in this case, as in most other places, made of clay strongly impregnated with red iron oxide, which, probably, the clay owes its strength to strengthening in the atmosphere. The outer wall was between eight and ten feet high, six and eight wide. Between the first wall and the next the distance can be twenty-four or thirty feet; space was overgrown with bushes. Here I saw a deep well carefully made, laid out with masonry. The inner building was probably under a roof, and served as the main tower of the fortress. The natives of these places who call this building Kotuwa (Fort), have a tradition of buildings, which, probably, brought the Portuguese. Once the area was the scene of the bloody discord of the bold invaders and the troops of Sitawak. The character of the building, the circumstances and the character of the building indicated to me exactly everything that I was in exactly that legendary place that is described as the fortification of Sithawaka. Be that as it may, the devastation was not an uninteresting sight. Nature two centuries, at least, spared the fortress, but the walls were demolished or in part or completely, and their stones were removed to build a new holiday home. A curious traveler can complain about the actions of this measure on the part of the English… "
Today this place lies on the Maniyangama Road, the road that leads to the popular Maniyangama Raja Maha Viharaya. The ruins were abandoned by the authorities and never recovered until recently. In the 2000s, the Department of Archeology began to dig in the ground, and partial building structures were restored.
Fort is a rare historical and defensive fortress with dark, thick stone walls — with an endless ocean on one side. The roads inside Galle Fort were almost unchanged, as were the squares on the chessboard. Direct and narrow alleys invite visitors to a delightful walk in the 17th century.
Built by the Portuguese in 1620, Fort Halle was fortified by the Dutch in 1667.
Ancient monuments in this historical complex include a lighthouse, a clock tower, the first Dutch and English Reformed churches, a mosque of the World, a Buddhist temple, and the residence of the commander. Noteworthy are the Dutch Reformed Church with its Baroque façade and the usual double spiral moldings on its pediments that testify to the influence of indigenous peoples. Military architecture of the fort in European design. The unique Galle Fort is still the best-preserved fortified city in South Asia.
The historical significance of this monument is priceless. Historians who study Galle
, although they lost some of the ancient artifacts, confirm the existence of a civilization here yet in the pre-Christian and Roman eras. In the Middle Ages Galle
Fort turned into the largest southern international port of Ceylon with involving Chinese, Indian, Indonesian, Persian, Roman and Arab traders.
occurred during the Portuguese, Dutch and British periods. The neglect of the fort began after 1948, vandalism was also common.
Given its importance as an outstanding architectural and archaeological monument in Asia during the colonial period and with the aim of preventing further degradation of the Fort, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the International Committee for the Protection of Monuments and Sites recorded Galle Fort as an object World Heritage. Subsequently, the Government of Sri Lanka adopted Law No. 7 of 1991, according to which, in order to maintain and manage the Galle Fort and its environs, the Government personally takes the facility under supervision.
Since then, the program has been launched, with the assistance of the Government of the Netherlands, the project to maintain the Fort was launched, in close connection with the departments of archeology and museums, the Tourism Office of Sri Lanka, and the Department of Conservation in the Netherlands. The Maritime Museum was opened on March 28, 1999.
The Society for the Protection of World Heritage in Galle
Fort (GFWHPS) sent an appeal to the government with call for immediate attention to the property inside the fortress. They argue that foreigners who purchased plots inside Fort Halle violated the Antiquities Act, according to which acquiring even with 100% taxation in the ownership of facilities inside the Fort is an offense.
Almost any of the Forts is highly recommended for visiting during your stay in Sri Lanka
, because without such objects your idea of diversity and uniqueness of the country's history will be far from complete. Consult your Lankarus
manager about the possibilities of visiting a fort on your tourist itinerary.
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