Fort Matara

Fort Matara

Southern most major town in Sri Lanka and the terminus of the coastal rail line has also been under the Portuguese and Dutch rule. The star shaped fort at Matara is an unusual and a unique structure. There are several beautiful and less crowded beaches along the coast between Galle and Matara and the closest to the town is at Polhena. Another attraction is a 25m high colourful Buddha statue built at Veherahena Temple.
The temple is about 2 kM from the town centre and about 1 Km inland from Pallimulla on the main road.

Matara fort built by the Dutch around 1640 is a fortification of a Portuguese garrison. The old Dutch church is an interesting and one of the oldest structures in the Fort. There are many other structures in the Dutch and the British era most of which have undergone many changes. The star fort built in a shape of a star has been built to provide additional protection to the main fort across the river. The moat now restored and a drawbridge added recently.

Early British era market at Nupe now serves, as a music-training centre is an interesting building with Kandyan roof tiles.


Recommended review time for sightseeing: 1 h

Tourist reviews about Fort Matara

Small place with a big value
Uthpala W [TA], , Sheffield, United Kingdom

Star fort is a miniature version of Dutch forts around Sri Lanka. It gives you an idea how they were designed and maintained. The fort is in good condition compare to other Dutch ruins you can see around Matara. Worth a visit.

Asian feeling
Judy_Lucy... [TA], , Alliston, Canada

This is the place to go to have the real feeling of Asia. An old world place which shows you the past.

Nice place but still prefer Galle Fort
Adam L [TA], , Colombo, Sri Lanka

Personally, there is not much happening in Matara town. Besides the beach and this Star fort. However, after visiting this place, you may want to visit the hill top restaurant and have a good drink and enjoy the breeze.

If you staying in Mirissa, this place will be a good choice to have a break from the beach.

Look out for a elderly man who sale delicious peanut for 20rp a pack!

Galle Port
Hasantha... [TA], ,

I have visited the galle port several times. It is really an interesting place to visit by a traveler or any tourist to wake up the ancient memories of southern area

Can't compete with Galle Fort...
goalgent [TA], , Gent

The Star Fort of Matara cannot compete with the Galle Fort, but if you are in the neighbourhood at least pay a visit. It's a small fort with a nice gate to enter and a drawbridge. Inside the fort there's a small museum with some artifacts that are worth a glance. Not a major collection, but if you're in Matara do pay this fort a visit. But don't make a detour to go to Matara especially for this fort.

A good look around
Barbara M [TA], , Stafford, United Kingdom

Renovations are obviously beginning to take place to make this into a visitor area but they are nowhere near the standard set by Galle. One local builder actually stopped us to ask why we were bothering to look around the area. We thoroughly enjoyed our scout around and look forward to a future visit

debbyian [TA], , Kingston-upon-Hull, United Kingdom

a small fort with a museum inside and a moat round it which contains fish, turtles and at least one crocodile

Star Fort - Archaeological Museum
Malaka Sa... [TA], , Gampaha, Sri Lanka

Star Fort is a one of wonderful constructions which has unique architectural design in Matara city area. This fort was built by Portuguese during their ruling period. This building has a shape of a star. They used this building as their armory to protect their dynamites with high security measures. The building is surrounding by a channel which uses to separate outside from the fort completely. It is said that cruel crocodiles were lived in that channel during Dutch ruling period and they were used to protect unauthorized persons cross the channel. There is a movable bridge which can use to enter the fort when they want. Now this building is protected as an archaeological museum by Archaeological Department, Sri Lanka. There are many ancient things such as weapons, furniture, uniforms, coins, photographs and models in the museum and also there is an old well in the middle open area of the building. It was used to take drinking water.

Uniterested for tourists
Sergey G [TA], ,

Matara are little town and haven't really interesting places for tourists - enough to visit during only one morning...

not too much to see
John G [TA], , Edinburgh, United Kingdom

I visited this fort with my guide. It is very small but quite interesting. Information is at hand, but I have to say that 10 mins at the Fort is adequate. The few staff that are there do not speak very good English which is a shame because the written info is limited. If in close proximity its a place of interest to visit.

Best Dutch Fortress in Sri Lanka
RanjPer [TA], , Colombo, Sri Lanka

This should be the best Dutch Fortress that can be see in Sri Lanka. (it should be the smallest one also). This building is completely refurbished as per the original Dutch design. there is a museum in side this fortress. Floor area of the fortress should not be more than 2 acres.

This is in the middle of Matara city and you can reach here without any difficulty. place is located by the side of A2 road adjoining Matara hospital. I feel this is a place worth watching.

Star fort
kiruthiha [TA], , Kandy, Sri Lanka

worth watching! takes less than 1 hr to see it. Its star shaped and situated next to the main matara fort.

Dutch fortress unharmed
Ashy D [TA], , Colombo, Sri Lanka

Star fort which is the secondary fort as to the Matara fort next to the beach. This has a shape of a star if you look from the top. This fortress remains unharmed in its real state due to it has been protected by the Sri Lanka archaeological department. If you have watched your cartoons, you can imagine how a fortress is protected. Yes of course this fortress is protected with a huge, strong wall, a Strong tall gate and protected by a deep pool of water around the fortress. It is believed that the pool was protected by Crocodiles before.The fortress Entrance have this fairy tale type folding bridge across the pool. The fort is now converted to a small heritage museum with hysterical things found around the southern province. There are not much to watch in the Museum but there are quite interesting things in it. Other than that you can check about various architectural facts of the fortress including prison blocks, holes for cannons, water drainage systems and etc. Its a nice place to visit and feel like a royal person inside this historic fortress. This is a must see place if you are visiting Matara

Good but a small place
Maria M [TA], , Paris, France

You can finish watching this place in 1 hr. But worth watching

Quaint Fort
1LifeStan... [TA], , Colombo

The Star Fort is named obviously for its shape and was built to fortify the main fort in Matara. The better preserved one out of the 2 houses a tiny museum, which was closed when we visited at 6pm on Sunday. The watcher who was closing up was kind enough to let us in and even showed us how the draw bridge works. At the entrance there are 2 cells in which prisoners were housed and there are opening from where the food was passed.

The Star Fort was built by the Dutch between 1763 and 1765

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