MATARA
 
  It is 44 kms to Matara from Galle. The town lays low, and the Lines that remain upon the left bank of the Blue river or Nilwala Ganga. During the rule of the Dutch, the defences were very extensive. On the right bank of the Nilwala Ganga were a stone built fort of five defenders that commands the bridges, which are connected by an isle, and the ferry.

There are several excellent private houses, chiefly of Kabook, or iron-stone clay (defined in the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) as “a reddish gneissic building-stone, soft when quarried but hardening by exposure to the air; laterite”) a District Courthouse, Chapel, and the barracks. The Kachcheri; an office of administration, a court-house is an extensive building, and there are also a Wesleyan Mission-house and chapel.

The country around Matara is very fertile, fish is abundant and cheap; and no place is better supplied with fish, including the Seer Fish, Red Coal Fish, Rock Cod, Soles, Eels, Skate, Crabs, locally called Lobster, huge Prawns, and Shrimps.

Matara, long famed for its poultry, may be called the ‘Norwich of Ceylon’ for turkeys, with which the Galle and Colombo markets are supplied; but Coir (“the prepared fibre of the husk of the coco-nut used for making ropes, cordage, and matting”), arrack, and coconuts are its principal products.

With a geographical reversal, the southernmost tip of the island becomes the nearest point of land to the South Pole over the endless ocean that lies between these tropics and the icy wastes. You can sit on the rocks near the lighthouse and gaze southwards across a world of water.
 
Dutch Reformed Church - The Dutch Colonial Period church dates to 1686, although its facade was remodelled in 1769. Both the facade and the interior (next page) are very simple and spare, in keeping with the church's Calvinist heritage. The Dutch Reformed Church was the semi-official Netherlands denomination at the time, and entered Sri Lanka along with the Dutch East India Company (VOC). It still has about 5,000 members in the island.  
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