Jaffna Fort (Sinhalese: යාපනය බලකොටුව; Tamil: யாழ்ப்பாணக் கோட்டை) is a fort built by the Portuguese at Jaffna, Sri Lanka in 1618 under Philip De Olivera following the Portuguese invasion of Jaffna. It was captured by the Dutch under Raiclop Van Goins 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.
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 1986 to 1995 it was under the control of the LTTE and was recaptured by the Sri Lanka Armyin 1995 after a 50 day siege during Operation Riviresa. Today it remains garrisoned by a detachment of the Sri Lanka Army with limited access to visitors and is under renovation.
Buildings inside the fort include the Governor's residence, Queen's House, Jaffna, the Garrison Parade Ground, Police quarters and several buildings from the Portuguese era.