Generally the colonial forts in Sri Lanka were built on coastal areas to protect the entry points such as harbours from invading forces. But there are some forts which were built inside the country. They were meant to defend the low land from the Kandyan Kingdom in the hills.
Until the Kandy fell to British in 1815, it was a independent kingdom refusing to bow the head to the colonial powers which held the coastal belt. Therefore the the Dutch and the Portuguese built several forts on the foothills which boarders the Kandyan Kingdom and their areas. Katuwana Fort is such a located in the Katuwana divisional secretary of Hambantota District. It was built in 1645 A.D by the Dutch.
According to the historical reports there had been buildings such as two bastions which accommodate 12 cannons, quarters, stores, surgical theatres, staircases etc. The rampart is about 150’ * 150’ in dimensions which is made of huge boulders is about 20’ high from externally and 8’ 12’ high from internally. This fort was captured and partly destroyed by the Kandyan forces in 1761 during the Matara Rebellion. The main door of the Fort can be now found on the Maduwanwela Walawwa today. It is said that at one time the British at one time issued a arrest warrant for the Maduwanwala Disawe, popularly known as the Black Prince of Sabaragamuwa and when the soldiers came to arrest him, he trapped them and demanded that the British give him a beautiful timber doorway from the old Dutch Fort at Katuwana in exchange for the soldiers’ lives.
With the subjugation of the Kandyan kingdom by the British in 1815, fortress lost its strategic significance and was abandoned forever. Fortunately, This fort is now restored to its ancient glory with aid from the Dutch Government. It can easily be reached from Middeniya which in turn can be reached from either Panamure or directly from Embilipitiya.
Map of Katuwana Fort
The map above also shows other places of interest within a approximately 20 km radius of the current site. Click on any of the markers and the info box to take you to information of these sites.
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Traveling Directions to Katuwana Fort
Route from Colombo
|Though : Panadura – Matugama – Morawaka
distance :170 km
Travel time : 3.5 hours
Driving directions : see on google map