Conservation and Landscaping of Star Fort of Matara
|Conservation and Landscaping of Star Fort of Matara|
|Project duration||2000 till 2007|
|Type of Project||Care & Management|
|Landscape, Fortification, Conservation, Built Heritage, Sri Lanka, Colonial|
Sri Lanka has a rich cultural heritage in Dutch architecture and fortresses. One of the many fortresses is The Star Fort at Matara. The Star Fort is located in the Municipal Limits of Matara, in the district of Matara of Southern Province of Sri Lanka. The Dutch rulers constructed this small star shaped fort within 1763 and 1765. The purpose of this fort was the protection of the main Fort from attacks. After the Dutch, the British used it for their civil administration works. The buildings had been changed over time and in 1986 it was totally restored into the original design by the Department of Archaeology. It was converted into a museum of Sri Lankan Art history in 1991. However, currently this museum is not functioning very well and the drawbridge has collapsed.
It was in the late nineties of the twentieth century that the Sri Lankan Government decided to restore this fort. Unfortunately, they did not have enough information on the details of the drawbridge to make a proper reconstruction. Therefore, they decided to approach the Dutch authorities for detailed information. Even in the Netherlands, there was very little information on this drawbridge. The only way to find out was to investigate the gateway thoroughly for building traces. Harry Boerema, a Dutch conservation specialist from the Dutch Department for Conservation, did this in 1999.
The two main activities at Matara Star Fort, namely the conservation of the monument and landscaping of the surroundings have been completed as planned. One of the other important items completed is the restoration of the ancient drawbridge. This is the only ancient Dutch drawbridge now available on display for the general public in Sri Lanka. These completed items were handed-over to the owner: Department of Archaeology on 25th of July 2008. The next stage of the project is to establish a regional museum in the conserved building of the fort. The implementing agency, the Department of Archaeology is seeking additional funding for this purpose.
Integrated Plan for Conservation, Preservation and Development of Cultural Heritage Sites and Tourism promotion in the Southern Region within the concept of ‘A Cultural Triangle in the South’ under the Netherlands-Sri Lanka Cultural Cooperation Programme 2006/2009. Ministry of Cultural Affairs & National Heritage, 2006, Sri Lanka.
Department of Archaeology Sri Lanka
Matara Municipal Council
Citizens’ Association of Matara
Centre for International Heritage Activities
National Service Cultural Heritage
Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority
Department of National Museums, Sri Lanka
|Experts referring to this project|
|Prasanna B. Ratnayake|
Integrated Plan for Conservation, Preservation and Development of Cultural Heritage in the Southern Region within a concept ‘A Cultural Triangle in the South’ under the Netherlands-Sri Lanka Cultural Cooperation Programme 2006/2009