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Home » What to Do

Forts of Sri Lanka : The Amazing Architecture

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With the sun and water surrounding the country, everyone loves to spend all their time on the beaches. Yet, if some quiet relaxation is what you really want, then you would be interested in exploring the forts in Sri Lanka. Your travel to Sri Lanka will give you a perfect chance to view them and through them you would be able to glimpse into their history.

Forts in Sri Lanka reflect the colourful past of Sri Lanka; date back thousands of years with many being built by Sri Lankan Kings, these include several walled cities. But with the beginning of colonial rule in Sri Lanka, the colonists built several western styled forts, mostly in and round the cost of the island. The first to build colonial forts in Sri Lanka were the Portuguese, these forts were captured and later expanded by the Dutch. The British occupied these Dutch forts during the Napoleonic wars.

Forts can be considered the best source of information about the people who had lived in those forts. First thing that can mesmerize any of the visitors is the amazing architecture. So, if you are just ravelling for recreational purposes or travelling with an educational motive, then these forts will certainly tell you their stories.

These forts are also one of the best places for researchers who want to know the ancient culture and their living patterns. So, there are a lot of advantages of visiting these forts. However, there certainly are some of the most famous forts which hold an important place in forts. Galle Fort is the one the most famous in Sri Lanka.

Colombo Fort

Colombo was the capital of Portuguese Ceylon and this was the first colonial fort built in Sri Lanka.  It was first called ‘Santa Barbara’ when constructed in the year 1518.  It was similarly abandoned in 1524 and then in 1554 a new fort was built and the city of Colombo was built around the fort.  The fort has since been demolished and the city of Colombo and several holiday resorts in Sri Lanka take its place as the center of the city is where the old fort once stood.

Galle Fort

It was not till the Portuguese occupation that Galle raised to importance; they fortified it at the end of 16 century (around 1589) and called this fortress ‘Santa Cruz’, but notwithstanding this Galle was conquered by the Dutch on 13 March 1640.

It was the principal port of the island under the Dutch, they greatly strengthened the fortifications. Galle was the capital of Dutch Ceylon from its conquest (1640) till the conquest of Colombo in 1656.

Fort Frederick

Fort Frederick in Trincomalee has a long and colourful history as a fort and even today is commissioned with a garrison of soldiers yet is still available for tourists to visit and see.

Matara Fort

The fort was built by the Portuguese about 1550 but the actual fort was built by the Dutch when they took Matara, after the capture of Galle. The remains of the fort are in good preservation.

Jaffna Fort

The Portuguese built in 1560 the fortress of Nossa Senhora dos Milagres. Jaffna was the last place in Portuguese hands in Ceylon, they lost it in 1658. The Dutch strengthened the fort about in 1680. The old Dutch fort, of considerable size, with its ramparts, bastions and gateways was still in good preservation before the civil war.

If you take the time to look there remains information and partial remains of other forts throughout the country of Sri Lanka, though the course of history there were no less than at least seventeen forts in this country.  Some of them remain in entirety and some only have vague portions still available to show the world that a mighty structure once lived there.

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