Sights in Matara
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The Star Fort, about 350m from the main Dutch rampart gate, was built by the Dutch to compensate for deficiencies in the rampart. However, it’s so small it could only have protected a handful of bureaucrats. The date of construction (1765) is embossed over the main gate, along with the VOC (Verenigde Oostindische Compagnie) company insignia and the coat of arms of the governor of the day. Look for the two carved lions that guard the entrance gates. You can also spot the slots that once secured the drawbridge beams.
The smallish Dutch rampart occupies the promontory separating the Nilwala Ganga from the sea. Built in the 18th century to protect the Verenigde Oostindische Compagnie’s kachcheri (administrative office), its structure is a little peculiar – it was originally meant to be a fort, but accountants, with their pesky cost-cutting exercises, dictated otherwise. Inside the rampart are quiet vestiges of old Matara.