Located next to the Pannai Bridge, connecting the island of Kayts to the mainland of the country, the distinctively shaped Jaffna Fort stands as the second largest colonial fort in the country. Built in the
year 1618 by the Portuguese colonizers, the complex was called the ‘Fortress of Our Lady of Miracles of Jafanapatão’, due to the many miracles that occurred near the statue of Mary near the church.
It was eventually taken over by the Dutch and then the British in order to protect the coast of northern Sri Lanka. In 1948 it was officially handed over to the government of Sri Lanka, and subsequently became a key location during the country’s three-decade long ethnic conflict.
Presently, it has been refurbished with the help of the Dutch government and is just one of few colonial heritage sites in the city. Monuments such as the Governor’s Residence, Queen’s House, Kruys Church, and Garrison Parade Ground are just some of the more popular colonial attractions that exist today.
It would be helpful to know that a detachment of the Sri Lankan Army uses the fort as a barracks, which explains the opening and closing hours of 8am and 6pm.
When in the city of Jaffna, do not forget to include this attraction to your itinerary, as this fort is one-of-a-kind.