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The Jaffna Public Library

Colonial buildings in Jaffna

The Jaffna Public Library was originally built in 1933 and burnt in 1981. It was one of the biggest libraries in Asia, containing over 97,000 books and palm leaf manuscripts.
Over a million books burned in the 1981 arson attack. Some ancient Sinhala and Tamil books were never recovered. In 2001, rehabilitation of the library was completed, with new structures being built and new books received, although the old books and manuscripts were not replaced. It is Sri Lanka’s second main public library. The building’s classical lines and beautiful proportions make it stand out architecturally and it is surrounded by beautiful gardens.

Colonial Buildings in Jaffna

Nowadays Jaffna’s colonial past is still visible in the colonial architecture. The Portuguese established the city as their colonial administrative center in 1621, the Dutch VOC took it over in 1658.

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