A visit to Kalutara Fort – A look into the past

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Kalutara is a popular place in Sri Lanka for its historical significance as well as the tourist attractions that are strewn here and there in the city. It is the 3rd largest city in the country. Going back to colonial times, the Europeans who captured Ceylon for a while found Kalutara to be useful too and in turn built the Kalutara Fort! Here is a brief history that will help you learn about the fort.

The Kalutara fort was crucial in controlling the Cinnamon trade | Photo – Koninklijke Bibliotheek [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons – Circa 1672

Portuguese In Kalutara

A few years before the fort was built, the Portuguese invaded the area and, in an attempt, to capture the city, the army led by Diogo de Melo de Castro rampaged the city, destroying many Buddhist shrines and temples. The Portuguese, later led by Jerónimo de Azevedo successfully captured Kalutara, it was in 1622 that the Kalutara Fort was built by the Portuguese on the piece of land on which Gangathilaka temple once stood.


Dutch in Kalutara

33 years after the fort was constructed, the Dutch arrived in Kalutara. The Kalutara fort was under the command of Antonio Mendes de Aranha at the time. The Dutch army led by Gerard Hulft stormed into the fort in 1655. Without a single bit of fighting, the Kalutara Fort was then handed over to the hands of the Dutch who made improvements to it.


Finally, to the English

Next to invade the island of Sri Lanka were the British. Once they discovered the fort, the British too went out pell-mell and brought the fort and the area of Kalutara under their rule. At this point, the usefulness of the Kalutara fort had lessened. Instead, it was then converted to the residence of a British government agent.


The Kalutara Fort now

There are many places to visit in Kalutara, in case you are adamant on visiting this fort which holds centuries of history, we will have to burst your bubble since there are no remnants of the Kalutara Fort in the present day. However, do visit the Kalutara Temple which now lies in the same location and is just as wonderful! Refer to blogs such as Travel Kalutara for more information on this amazing temple as well.


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