Jaffna dutch fort

Jaffna dutch fort

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Jaffna in contemporar Wel come Viewers We are include 360' View photo below our artical . Thank you for watching y Sri Lanka could be surmised as the epitome of the Hindu-Tamil culture in Sri Lanka. However from the archaeological evidence available it could be confirmed that in the ancient times Buddhist culture had spread to the north as well as to other places of Sri Lanka. With the fall of the Polonnaruwa kingdom in the 13th c. A.D. a separate political administration emerged in the Jaffna peninsula, also known as Nagadipa and its survival was established by being the controlling centre of the trade route between India and Sri Lanka. In this manner Jaffna was able to build up an independent state to exert at present a strong political influence over the administration of Sri Lanka as in the ancient times. The historicity of Jaffna and its residual evidence is exemplified by the existence of the Dutch Fort and the host of other archaeological monuments associated with it, though they are seen to the present day as ruins.

The Jaffna Fort and the buildings that had come up during the occupation of the island by the Portuguese, Dutch and the British shows the architectural features relevant to those periods of construction. These buildings have been destroyed during the 30 year old internal strife that ravaged the country.

Jaffna Fort, the second biggest Dutch fort built in Sri Lanka is an archaeological monument that has had a direct onslaught as a result of the recent 30 year of armed conflict. Although a portion of its seaside rampart had been destroyed due to a continuous offensive from the LTTE the fort taken as a whole has not undergone a severe destruction. An outer moat exists outside the ramparts. Outside the moat is the outer rampart which has built in to it five tunnels each in a twin formation. Although the tunnels are in good preservation they are presently void of doors. However they show signs that they have had doorways in the past.

The monuments within the fort had been destroyed during the conflict that raged in the area. Of these the monument named the Queen’s Palace is in sufficient level of preservation than the rest as it could be identified. Its superstructure is completely destroyed and the remaining walls are in the process of being destroyed due to the presence of invasive plants having taken roots in them.

The short parapet wall constructed to the style of Dutch architecture in front of this building has by and large been spared of destruction. Behind the building is an access to the rampart with an ornate trellis balustrade. This access may have been used by the Dutch to transport arms to the rampart. There is evidence to show that a verandah with two ponds of the Dutch architectural style had existed in front of the Queen’s Palace.

The Dutch church located within the fort had been bombed and completely destroyed. As this structure had been documented its ancient layout could be identified. Its broad walls had been constructed in limestone.

The other buildings such as the old prison, the hospital and the ancillary buildings have undergone much destruction. The belfry on the inner rampart is similar to those found in other Dutch forts. Presently their walls are missing.

Close to the boundary of the seaside rampart are a well believed to have been constructed during the Dutch era and a Hindu temple built at a later date.

Situated on the south side of the Jaffna peninsula at the water’s edge of the lagoon, the ancient Jaffna Fort is the second largest existing fort in the Island. Originally built by the Portuguese in 1619 and re-built and expanded by the Dutch during the second half of the 17th and the 18th centuries to facilitate trading activities of Sri Lanka’s northern region indicate not only of Jaffna’s strategic importance to Europeans but its significance throughout Sri Lanka’s history.

Map of the Jaffna Fort

The five sided inner defense works consist of thick and high ramparts and bastions with a wide and deep moat around it. The layout resembles a geometrically regular pentagon which is defined by the ramparts with a bastion at each corner of the pentagon. Beyond these defense works is the star shaped moat, the outline of which roughly follows the bastion and rampart walls.

The outer defense works include the glacis, the ravelins and a covered way. Unlike the Dutch forts at Galle and Colombo, which were fortified towns, the Jaffna Fort had an almost exclusively military and administrative function. The fort is the only surviving example in Sri Lanka, where its inner defenses has a geometrically regular pentagonal layout. Moreover this is the only example in the Island, where outer fortifications consisting of glacis, ravelins and covered way are to be seen.

Nelson in his book titled ‘Dutch Forts in Sri Lanka’ (1984) goes on to declare that


‘it was, as a technical fort, ………….everything was done to the latest design at each successive stage…….final result was the strongest fortress in the East, the perfect defensive design in the days of powerful and destructive solid shot artillery of limited effective range. In Britain, fully comparable places are to be found only at the towns of Berwick , at Fort George neat Inverness, at the citadel of Plymouth at Tilbury Fort on the Thames approaches to London…………. There are many fine artillery fortifications from the same period around the Indian Ocean. Yet it is doubtful whether in it’s technically perfection and its completeness, Jaffna can be surpassed’.


Jaffna Fort | Top Tourist Place in Jaffna

Hangmans Tower in the fort

Within the fort stand significant buildings of architectural importance. The church erected in 1706, within the walled enclosure was one of the most impressive architectural works of the northern region. This building, which lacks significant ornamentation, showed how effective a buildings architecture could be, if proportions (both exterior as well as interior), and massing of volumes are correctly achieved.

The sheer verticality, enhanced by its roof structure and high gable facades had made it the dominant structure of the entire townscape. The Queen’s House (formerly, the Governor’s Residence) was the best example of domestic building of the northern region which represented at its best, the architectural characteristics that developed during the 17th and 18th centuries in Sri Lanka. In its final evolution, this stately building had a wide and spacious double- pillared verandah.


Jaffna fort with such heritage values of national and international significance was in a perfect state of preservation until the country’s civil war that erupted in the mid 1980’s. The fortifications and buildings within it were severely damaged due to artillery fire. The Church is now reduced to a heap of rubble.







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Yarltourism | Yarl tourism : Jaffna dutch fort
Jaffna dutch fort
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