Matara is situated in the very South of Sri Lanka, about 160 km from Colombo. The sea frontage to Matara city gives a glamorous look with a beach which extends to about half a kilometer in distance. When compared to other beaches this beach is full of various kinds of trees as shades.Polhena, Matara's beach area is 2 km away from the city center. There anybody can swim safely for it is naturally fenced with coral. The river Nilwala which runs through the city falls into the sea at Totamuna, which is also a part of the city. The Crow Island is a small island facing the beach and it is a spectacular sight with its greenery filled with trees.
Matara historically belongs to the area called Ruhuna, one of the three kingdoms in Sri Lanka (Thun Sinhalaya). First aryans who arrived to the island country according to the Mahawamsa 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 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 the 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.