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|Year and Month||August, 2014 (3rd and 31st)|
|Number of Days||Two Separate Days|
|Route||Welisara to Colombo & Negombo|
|Tips, Notes and Special remark||
|Comments||Discuss this trip report, provide feedback or make suggestions at Lakdasun Forum on the thread|
THE FORT OF COLOMBO
The Fort of Colombo, known as the Mother of evil by the Kandyan Kings was built in the 1520s by the Portuguese as an outpost to protect their factory and to house the garrison; evolving into a mighty fortress repelling many sieges.
In 1665 after the capture of the fort by the Dutch, they demolished it and built their own mighty fortress according to the prevailing architectural design known as the Star Fort (i.e. Galle Fort). Serving as the Command Center for all 3 colonial powers, the Colombo fort would have been the biggest and strongest fortification in the island.
The Dutch fort was demolished in the 1870s by the British to create space for administration buildings but not entirely.
Hardly anyone knows that the name sake of Colombo 01, Fort still exists among the busy streets.
There are 3 locations of the remains of the fort.
THE DELFT GATEWAY – the entrance to the fort, known as the Delft Gateway is preserved in the Commercial Bank Building premises on Bristel Street. As you enter the building one could find the well preserved gateway, but photographs are not permitted!!!! -.- you need to get permission from the Security Manager; I somehow managed to take some snaps before they noticed! 🙂
THE MARITIME MUSEUM – the building housing the maritime museum is also part of the fort, I could not find written evidence on this but it is very clear from the out look, the people there confirm it is a Dutch building and say it was used to house ammunition, but I believe it was part of the ramparts.
This museum houses a superb collection of paintings, artifacts and models of the Colombo habour and its life throughout the ages.
Anyone interested in model ships should visit here as there are about 10 big model wooden sail ships from the ship of Vijaya, Marco Polo, Chinese Junks, to Portuguese, Dutch and British war ships. The museum is well maintained but there is hardly anyone to see it. The museum is down the Chaitya road along the beach from the roundabout near the Kingsbury.
THE RUINED RAMPART – this ruined wall is situated inside the Colombo Port; access restricted. I came to know of the ruins from the news first documentary on Colombo aired last year. When we visited the museum, we inquired from the security there and they confirmed the existence of such a wall and we identified the location when we climbed the Chaithya. With the help of my cousin brother I got access to the habour and found the ruins of the wall. The following images are highly classified 🙂
I wonder if these will be the last photographs of this once mighty fort. Hope the Ports Authority will take measures to preserve this wall for the future generations; for a lot could be learned of military engineering by studying this wall
THE FORT OF NEGOMBO
The Portuguese were the first to build a fort here to protect Negombo, the export processing zone of the cinnamon trade. The Dutch destroyed the Portuguese fort during the siege in 1644 and built their own fort on its ruins on the star fort design. The fort was located on a narrow strip of land between the lagoon and an inlet of the sea. It was surrounded by moats, and the gate was accessed via a drawbridge. The area to the west was regularly flooded by the sea, changing the land on which the fort stood into a peninsula. Governor Rumpf described the fort as a ‘fine defensible structure’ when he visited it in 1720.
Today only ruins are left. The Fort was demolished in the late nineteenth century by the British, who used its stones to build the prison. The main remnant is an ambivalent mound and part of the eastern wall with the main gate that gives entrance to a tunnel that opens into what was once the courtyard.