Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Matara, Sri Lanka

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Coordinates: 5°57′0″N 80°33′0″E/5.95°N 80.55°E/5.95; 80.55
Country Sri Lanka
Province Southern
- Mayor
- Total 1,283 km2 (495.4 sq mi)
- Land 1,270 km2 (490.3 sq mi)
- Water 13 km2 (5 sq mi)
Population (2001)
- Total 761,400
- Density 600/km2 (1,554/sq mi)
Time zone Sri Lanka Standard Time Zone (UTC+5:30)
Website Matara city website
Mobitel Building

Matara, (originally Mahathota) is a city on the southern coast of Sri Lanka, 160 km from Colombo. It is one of the largest cities in Sri Lanka.[citation needed] It was deeply affected by the Asian tsunami in December 2004.



[edit] History

Matara historically belongs to the area called Ruhana, one of the three kingdoms in Sri Lanka (Thun Sinhalaya). First Indians who arrived to the island country according to the Mahawansa settled in the area, along the banks of Nilwala river. Matara was ruled by Sinhala kings for thousands of years and this is evident by the ancient temples and shrines built by them such as temples in Dondra (Devinuwara) and Weherahena. The temple in the middle of the town is also built by ancient kings and now it is a very popular sacred place among the Buddhists in the area. In 16th and 18th centuries Matara was ruled by Portuguese and Dutch respectively. The culture and architecture can be still seen in the area. The popular Light house in point Dondra was built by Dutch and it is considered as one of the most beautiful and oldest light houses in Sri Lanka. The two fortresses built by Portuguese and Dutch can be found inside the city of Matara. Other important works done by Dutch are the St. Marie's church and the market place in Nupe junction.

Historically people of Matara has enriched the Sinhala literature. Most famous intellects lived in the area are Kumaratunga Munidasa and Gajaman Nona. The ethnic majority of Matara is Sinhala, during 16th and 17th centuries Muslims arrived in to the area as traders from Arabia, and today their descendants coexist with Sinhalese peacefully as an ethnic minority.

Matara Railway Station

[edit] People

Matara is well known for its entrepreneurs. Founders of famous Sri Lankan businesses like Nawaloka group, Siddhalepa, Harischandra, Fibretec (Sri Lanka), Nippolac are from Matara. Famous cricketer Sanath Jayasuriya hails from Matara as well.

[edit] Polling divisions

[edit] Universities

[edit] Schools

[edit] Maps

[edit] External links

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