Cradled amidst the numerous Negombo hotels is the Negombo Prison, a well-fortified structure that seemed to be stronger than strictly necessary. This is because the current prison is, in fact, the remnants of Negombo Fort, the Portuguese stronghold that changed hands through the years.
The Fort was originally constructed by the Portuguese, but it was rather weak in its structure. This was the reason for it to be captured in 1640 by the Dutch who were engaged in battle with the former for the ownership of coastal region of Sri Lanka. Although the Portuguese conceded the Fort initially, they persisted in battling to win it back, and finally were able to regain the Fort towards the end of 1640, ten months after the initial capture. As soon as the Portuguese got the Fort back, they strengthened its walls and managed to keep it within their power until 1644, when Dutch cannons took out the Portuguese along with the bastions. The Dutch then rebuilt the Fort but in a pentagonal structure, although only four walls were completed. Historians believe that the Fort could not be completed due to financial crisis. Although this was the last battle the Fort was subjected to, British took over the property in 1796 without any opposition. They made the decision to take down the Fort and build a prison in its stead using the same material. Thus, the modern prison used by Department of Prisons of Sri Lanka is, in fact, a design of the British built during colonisation.
Located near the lagoon, you can only see a part of the eastern rampart of the Fort today. There is quite a bit of history, though, which is proved by tourists from places as near as Heritance Negombo to as far as from Kalpitiya visiting the place. It is a living reminder of how fortification can protect both those inside as well as outside.
Damon Starky is a creative nomadic travel writer, who is well informed and experienced on a wide range of interests that would connect to the needs of any type of traveler. Google+