The perfect place to watch the sunset over the sea, Jaffna’s fort is a large ruin of the prestigious structure that it used to be. A piece of colonial history spanning the 17th and 18th centuries, the Portuguese, Dutch and British have all woven its elaborate past. Although the bustling town of Jaffna lies just beyond, the Jaffna Fort turns a deaf ear as it embarks a life of its own.
Situated southwest of the peninsula, past prominent landmarks such as the Jaffna Public Library, it overlooks the lagoon scattered with colourful fishing boats. The walkway to the entrance, the ‘Land Gate’ falls across the large trench.
The Jaffna Fort was originally built by the Portuguese and then superiorly renovated and completed by the Dutch in 1680. It was said to be the best and strongest in Asia. The Jaffna Fort is the only fortification in the island with exterior bastion fortification features such as ravelins, covered ways and a glacis and thus gives a unique experience to study and observe these features. It has only government and military buildings within its premises such as the Governor’s Residence (King’s House), Queen’s House, Kruys Church and many buildings from the Portuguese Era.
The Fort came under siege during the Civil War and several features were damaged since it was used for battles. Today, it remains garrisoned by the Sri Lanka Army with limited access to visitors and is being renovated with Dutch funding.
Jaffna Fort as a whole is definitely the grandest and best artillery fortification in Sri Lanka.
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