Matara is a town on the southern coast of Sri Lanka, 160 km from Colombo. It is one of the biggest cities in Sri Lanka. The town has many remnants of Sri Lanka? Is the colonial past divided by the island? The third longest river, the Nilwala Ganga? Blue River, huh? A beautiful, wide expanse of water that divides the old town from the new.
In the 16th and 18th centuries, Matara was ruled by the Portuguese and the Dutch. Culture and architecture can still be seen in the area. The popular Lighthouse in Point Dondra was built by the Dutch and is considered to be one of the most beautiful and oldest lighthouses in Sri Lanka. Matara is a busy, booming and thriving commercial city that owes almost nothing to tourism – which can turn it into a fascinating window of modern Sri Lankan life. The main attractions of Matara are its ramparts, Dutch architecture, well-preserved fortress and street life.
Paravi Dupatha Temple is a relatively modern Buddhist temple on Pigeon Island (a small offshore island) in front of the town. It is reached by an elegant cable-stayed footbridge that was erected in 2008 (replacing an earlier bridge that was washed away in the 2004 tsunami). The temple is set in attractive gardens and houses numerous statues of the Buddha and a replica of the so-called footprint of Adam's Peak.
Matara fort was built by the Portuguese in 1560 and was substantially rebuilt by the Dutch in 1640, following the capture of Galle. The fort, consisting of a large stone rampart, occupies the promontory between the lagoon of the Niwala River and the ocean.
The Dutch Reformed Church, Matara, was built in the Matara fort by the Dutch in 1706. It was extensively remodeled in 1767 after the fort was rebuilt in 1762.
Star Fort is on the western or land-bound side of the Nawali River. The fort was built by the Dutch after the Matara Rebellion in 1761 to protect the main fort from river attacks. In 1765, the construction of a unique star-shaped fort was completed.
St. Mary's Church is located on Beach Road. The date on the gateway (1769) refers to the reconstruction of the gateway after the Matara Rebellion of 1762.