Ratnapura Dutch Fort – රත්නපුර ලන්දේසි බලකොටුව

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The Portuguese first landed in Sri Lanka in 1505 through the Galle Port. Later the Portuguese army came through Arandara and Ruwanwella and captured Ratnapura. During the Portuguese occupation of Ratnapura, they demolished the ancient Ratnapura Maha Saman Devalaya and the Temple  and built a Fort and a church called St. Salvador on this place. Later the King Keerthi Sri Rajasinghe of Kandyan Kingdom re captured the Ratnapura, destroyed the church and the Ratnapura fort and built a temple on the site (Maha Saman Devalaya) on the site.

The Dutch Landed in Sri Lanka 1655 and took over all the areas controlled by the Portuguese by 1658. The Dutch initially used the Fort Built by the Portuguese but later built a new fort on a hillock in the middle of the Ratnapura Town. It is said that the design of this fort was similar to the Kalutara Fort with two Bastions. The fort was able to house 40 soldiers and provisions.

The fort was also used by the Dutch to house the administrative offices and storage for goods which were to be transported to ships. The fort housed the governers office and residence, court building, a hospital, a chapel and housing for other officials in addtion to the barracks of the soldiers. The goods collected from the region was collected at the fort and then carried in boats on the Kalu Ganga river to Kalurara.

The highest point on this hillock is called Balum Gala (watch rock). It is said that this point was used as a watch tower during this time.

This Fort and 10 building have been gazetted as a archeological monuments in 2002 and 2005.  A 400 meter area around this fort has been gazetted as a protective buffer zone in 2005.  But unfortunately this has been ignored by the regional government officials and parts of the protected buildings have been demolished and renovated without any consideration of the archeological value.

Currently the oldest building inside the fort is the Police Station which was started in 1st January 1864. The buildings inside the fort was used as the Kachcheri since 1817.

Also See

Map of  fort at  Dutch Fort at Ratnapura

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Driving Directions to Dutch Fort at Ratnapura

Route I from Colombo to Dutch Fort at Ratnapura

Route II from Colombo to Dutch Fort at Ratnapura

Through : Homagama – Bandaragama – Horana – Ratnapura
Distance :93 km
Travel time : 2.5 hours
Driving directions : see on google map
Through :Awissawella
Distance :92 km
Travel time : 2.5 hours
Driving directions : see on google map

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