Jaffna Fort (Tamil: யாழ்ப்பாணக் கோட்டை, romanized: Yāḻppāṇak Kōṭṭai; Sinhala: යාපනය බලකොටුව Yapanaya Balakotuwa) is a fort built by the Portuguese at Jaffna, Sri Lanka in 1618 under Phillippe de Oliveira following the Portuguese invasion of Jaffna. The fort is located near the coastal village of Gurunagar. Due to numerous miracles attributed to the statue of Virgin Mary in the church nearby, the fort was named as Fortress of Our Lady of Miracles of Jafanapatão (Fortaleza de Nossa Senhora dos Milagres de Jafanapatão). It was captured by the Dutch under Rijcklof van Goens in 1658 who expanded it. In 1795, it was taken over by the British, and remained under the control of a British garrison till 1948. As the only large military fort in the country, due to the presence of only government and military buildings within its ramparts, it was garrisoned by a detachment of the Ceylon Army.[1]

Jaffna Fort
Part of Jaffna
Jaffna, Sri Lanka
Jaffna Fort (1).jpg
Entrance of Jaffna Fort that was originally built by the Portuguese and renovated by the Dutch in 1680.
Jaffna Fort is located in Central Jaffna
Jaffna Fort
Jaffna Fort
CoordinatesCoordinates: 9°39′43.648″N 80°0′29.89″E / 9.66212444°N 80.0083028°E / 9.66212444; 80.0083028
TypeDefense fort
Site information
Controlled byGovernment of Sri Lanka
Open to
the public
Site history
Built byPortuguese and Dutch
In use1625 -
MaterialsGranite Stones
Garrison information
OccupantsAdministration of Sri Lanka
Map of the fort from 1693.

With the onset of the Sri Lankan Civil War it came under siege on several occasions and was the scene of pitched battles. From 1985 to 1995 it was under the control of the LTTE during this time the LTTE destroyed several of key features to stop the Army getting control due to the site being used to stage attacks but it was recaptured by the Sri Lanka Army in 1995 after a 50-day siege during Operation Riviresa. It was also vandalised by locals to rebuild houses damaged from the war . Today it remains garrisoned by a detachment of the Sri Lanka Army with limited access to visitors and is being renovated with Dutch funding.[2]

Buildings inside the fort include the Governor's residence (King's House), Queen's House, Kruys Church, the Garrison Parade Ground, Police quarters and several buildings from the Portuguese era.[3]


  1. ^ "Jaffna Fort".
  2. ^ "Sri Lanka fort: Out of the rubble". gulfnews.com. Retrieved 1 September 2016.
  3. ^ "Travel to Jaffna".

External linksEdit