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Matara is the largest town on Sri Lanka’s popular south coast, hosting the terminus of the railway line from Colombo.

Today it is a quiet town, but in past centuries was a thriving port central to the spice and gem trade with the East and Holland. The original town was established on a narrow peninsula in the estuary of the Nilwala River, which was fortified by the Dutch. The original walls still stand, containing some rather dilapidated old buildings dating from the Dutch colonial era.

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Matara is scenically attractive, surrounded by paddy fields and tea estates on the fertile river floodplain. The area also boasts some sandy, safe beaches. These assets have ensured that the town is a popular tourist destination.

There are many popular tourist attractions in the city:

Matara Fort was built by the Dutch around the year 1640 and is a fortification of a Portuguese garrison. In the fort, you will find many structures of the Dutch and British era. This fort is built in a shape of a star and was meant to provide additional protection to the main fort across the river.

Dondra or Devinuwara is situated 6 kilometers to the east of Matara. It is a 40m high lighthouse, built in the year 1890 in order to provide guidance to the shipping route south of Sri Lanka.

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Some of the interesting places situated nearby Mitara where you can go for an excursion are Weligama, Tangalla, located 48 kilometers east of Matara, is also one of the most pleasant places in the region, where you can enjoy a lazy beach holiday.

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