About Matara Fort
The Matara Fort was built in 1560 by the Portuguese and was substantially re-built by the Dutch in 1640, following the capture of Galle. The fort, which consists of a large stone rampart, occupies the promontory, which separates the Niwala Ganga (River) lagoon and the ocean.
The Portuguese constructed the first fortifications in 1595, with the assistance of Don Juan Dharmapala, the ruler of the Kingdom of Kotte. In 1640 the Dutch captured Matara from the Portuguese, and in 1645 they were responsible for the construction of the current fortifications. The fort consists of a 240 m (790 ft) long, 13 m (43 ft) thick, 5 m (16 ft) high rampart and the gateway constructed from local limestone, granite and coral. The rampart originally had a ditch in front of it, two half bastion projections at each end and a larger projection in the centre close to the gate with a bridge across the ditch.
Presently though, the old Matara Fort area has been restored and has a stark resemblance to that of its Galle counterpart, which further asserts its historical prominence in the island. One of the highlights is the ramparts, as it gives you a panoramic view of the Indian Ocean. The sunsets here are considered to be one of the best in the southern coast of the island. As you explore the fort, you’ll come across several other colonial monuments within the fort that narrate stories of old.