The Jaffna Fort or the Jaffna Fortress is another amazing fortress built during the rule of the Portuguese and the Dutch people in 1625 or thereabouts. It is one of the oldest antiquated buildings that remain in the Jaffna district. And like its sister counterpart the, Galle fortress down south, it remains as one of the most beautiful architectural constructions, within its high garrison walls, where the inner office and buildings that belonged to the Dutch period are seen inside this massive fortress.
The Jaffna fort remains as one of the most iconic buildings ever built, better than the Galle fortress because of its massive structure of stone walls, barracks and great guarding posts, massive arches and pavilions. And vast garden area and courtyards. It is now a protected site, and being renovated with aid from the Dutch Government.
The Jaffna fort has seen many wars through the years, and the most recent being the horrific 35-year-old the war between the LTTE terrorists and Sri Lanka, which began in 1985 and ended as a bloody battle in 1995. This iconic fortress was severely damaged by them when they took it over for their war-related activities. The government reclaimed it in 1995 after a siege and bloody battle, during the operation of Riviresa.
Built-in 1625 by the Portuguese and Dutch people with granite stones this is a massive structure of stone which has seen many a battle. The fortress was named as the Lady of Miracles because there stood a church nearby, with the statue of the Virgin Mary, hence its name for the fort. It was also known as a place of many miracles.
Inside these buildings or the main fortress, you get other offices and the governor’s residence which is called the Kings House, the Queen’s house, the Church which is called the Kruys, and the Garrison Parade grounds. Many police quarters and buildings are belonging to the Dutch and Portuguese era.
If only these stone walls could talk, it will tell stories of the endless wars and vandalism that has destroyed this beautiful and iconic architecture of yesteryear. The building is now used and guarded by the Sri Lanka Army as it is also being seen to its renovation and maybe we could see it back in its earlier pristine days of glory that was typically Portuguese and Dutch in the Jaffna Fort.
Since its bloody war ended, it is now quite clear and can be visited at any time, Jaffna by bus or train. It might take about 3 hours by train travel. The towns are now quite back in business with most of the shops open. But visiting more interior, you can still see the scars of the ravage of war.
You can visit many places depending on your interest here, like the large kovil in Jaffna, Many Hindu and Tamil people live here. You can also visit the Jaffna fort which is now an archaeological monument which represented a bloody ravaged battle of strife. Both the Portuguese and Dutch ruled hereafter which came to the British rule in ancient times. Nowadays there are many top-class hotels where you can stay in and sample a typical Jaffna curry and tasty cuisine.