Sri Lanka’s Jaffna Fort undergoing restoration

Jaffna Fort under renovation. Source: The Sun 20151104

A piece about the restoration of Jaffna’s 17th century fort, which has over the years been damaged due to the civil unrest in Sri Lanka.

Jaffna Fort under renovation. Source: The Sun 20151104
Jaffna Fort under renovation. Source: The Sun 20151104

Sri Lanka’s icon of colonial rule rises from the rubble
The Sun Daily, 04 November 2015

As an army of labourers churns out limestone bricks, archaeologist Prashantha Mandawala reflects on the ambitious task of restoring Sri Lanka’s centuries-old Jaffna fort, destroyed by ethnic war.

The project has so far included the dangerous task of clearing unexploded mines and shells from the seafront site and scouring the northern Jaffna peninsula for scarce limestone bricks to use for the rebuilding.

Sri Lanka’s separatist Tamil rebels laid siege to the European-built fort, branded a symbol of colonial oppression, during the conflict that raged on the island until 2009.

“There was damage due to the war. Artillery fire and things like that,” Mandawala, who is heading the mammoth restoration of the 17th-century complex.

“There was a lot of damage due to neglect also. Trees had grown inside causing damage to walls,” he said.

“Then there was also vandalism. Some people whose houses were damaged during the war had vandalised the fort to remove limestones to rebuild their homes.”

Full story here.

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Author: Noel Tan

Dr Noel Hidalgo Tan is the Senior Specialist in Archaeology at SEAMEO-SPAFA, the Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Archaelogy and Fine Arts.

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