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Matara Fort

It is believed that Matara Fort was built by Portuguese. Though it is accepted that the fort was built by them at Matara with the assistance of King Don Juan Dharmapala in 1595 A.D. the fort, which exists now in the triangular piece of land of the estuary of  Nilwala River between the lagoon and the sea  was built by the Dutch in 1645 A.D. The date inscribed on the entrance is 1789 A.D. It could be the date the fort was repaired and not the date it was built. The fort that the Dutch built was taken possession by the Sinhala army in 1761 A.D. at the time of the invasion from the hill country known as Matara Rebellion. Again on 02nd  February 1762 the Dutch managed to take possession of the fort. On 24th  February 1796 Matara Fort was handed over to the British by the Dutch. Matara Fort is built with granite and limestone and its gateway at the entrance and the rampart are very well preserved. There had been an elephant kraal, the official residence of the Government Agent, an old church, stores of cinnamon, arecanut, and a gunpowder store during the Dutch occupation. The oldest remains of a building existing now are the Old Dutch Church, with a circular apex and an upper floor depicting the Dutch architecture. Among the Dutch tombstones in the church, the oldest tombstone is dated 1686 A.D. During the British occupation, the Courts Complex, Rest House and the Matara Police Station have been added.