Matara is a major city in Sri Lanka; it located in the southern coast of Southern Province, Sri Lanka, 160 km from Colombo. It is one of the major commercial hubs in the country, and it is the administrative capital of Matara District.
Matara historically belongs to the area that was called the Kingdom of Ruhuna, which was one of the three kingdoms in Sri Lanka. Matara was previously called Mahathota. The Nilwala River runs through Matara and there was a wide area at this location where ferries used to cross. Hence the town was called Maha Thota which was derived from the sanskrit word Maha Theertha, which means “the great ferry”.
- Parey Dewa (Rock in Water) or Parevi Dupatha Temple – is a relatively modern Buddhist temple located on Pigeon Island (a small offshore island) in front of the City. It reached by an elegant suspension footbridge, which was erected in 2008 (replacing an earlier bridge, which was washed away in the 2004 Tsunami). The temple is set in attractive gardens and houses numerous statues of Buddha and a replica of the gold footprint found on Adam’s Peak.
- Weragampita Rajamaha Viharaya Temple
- Matara Bodhiya
- Matara fort / ramparts – The Matara fort was built in 1560 by the Portuguese and was substantially re-built by the Dutch in 1640, following the capture of Galle. The fort, which consists of a large stone rampart, occupies the promontory, which separates the Niwala River lagoon and the ocean.
- Dutch Reformed Church, Matara – constructed within Matara fort by the Dutch in 1706. It was extensively remodelled in 1767, following the recapture of the fort in 1762.
- Star Fort – located on the western or landward side of the Nawali River. The fort was constructed by the Dutch following the Matara rebellion in 1761, in order to protect the main fort from attacks originating from the river. Construction of the unique star shaped fort was completed in 1765.