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Mannar Fort

The fort is one of the oldest known structures in the district, built in 1560, sometime after the Portuguese colonised Sri Lanka. It is strategically placed, facing the mainland, which is unusual as most forts face out towards the sea in order to monitor the area. This was built in this way so as to monitor and control ships that passed through the Talaimannar Strait which, back then, was one of the few places for safe passage for the larger and heavier crafts, as the waters around Adam's Bridge were too shallow. A little less than a century after its construction, on 22nd February, 1658, the fort was surrendered to the Dutch who renovated it in 1696. They held on to it for nearly a hundred years after that before surrendering Mannar Fort to the British on 5th October, 1795. Many years after the Dutch had left our shores, the Mannar causeway connecting Mannar Island to Sri Lanka was built, so now the fort is located at the entrance to Mannar Island, at the end of the causeway near Mannar town. The Mannar Fort is easy to find; just look to the right while on the Mannar causeway when entering the island.

While the four bastions are still in good condition, unfortunately due to neglect most of the inner building have collapsed. However, the elevated bell tower is in particularly good condition. As such if you walk across the ramparts, you will have an uninterrupted picturesque view of the Talaimannar Strait.

Article resources

Retrieved from http://amazinglanka.com/wp/mannar-fort/ on 22/05/15.

(2013, December 13) Lost History of Mannar. Daily News. Retrieved from http://www.dailynews.1k/?q=features/lost-history-mannar on 29/05/15.

Chandrasena, N. (2013, March 11) Mannar Dutch Fort to be renovated. Ceylon Today. Retrieved from http://www.ceylontoday.lk/51-26598- news-detail-mannardutch-fort-to-be-renovated.html on 22/05/15.

This article was originally published at:

Discover Mannar Sri Lanka by Amrith Gnanam & Gehan de Silva Wijeyeratne

Photos by Ajith Rarnayaka

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