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Conservation of the Dutch Fort and other buildings at Kalpitiya

This project is part of a proposal for conservation and preservation of heritage sites with a special reference to the Eastern and Northern Provinces 2009-2012 issued by the Ministry of Cultural Affairs and National Heritage in Sri Lanka under the auspices of the Sri Lanka – Netherlands Cultural Cooperation Programme.

Kalpitiya Fort was captured and occupied by the Portuguese in 1544 and they established a fort and a civilian settlement outside the fort. The Dutch captured the fort in 1640 and fortified it by erecting a stockade around it. In 1795 the fort was surrendered to the British. The British continued with their military occupaion of the Kalpitiya Fort till 1859.

The project activities will resolve around the Dutch Fort, the Dutch Reformed Church and the mosque at Palliwasala Thurai.

Project information


The objectives of the project are the preservation of the cultural heritage of Kalpitiya which is an excellent representation of cultural diversity, the promotion of Kalpitiya as a tourist destination which is a valuable foreign exchange earner. Kalpitiya can be showcased combining two distinct different attractions for foreign tourists, i.e., colonial legacy and sea-sun-sand experience. Since the nearby city of Talavila is a major pilgrim destination of the Catholics nationwide, Kalpitiya will add a cultural flavour to pilgrimage of the local pilgrims since there are also areas of Hindu, Islamic and pre-Christian Buddhist sites. In the surrounding areas there are natural habitats of wild life. In view of this Kalpitiya will function as a tourist hub for both, heritage and eco tourism. Another objective is poverty alleviation through enhancement of livelihoods for the community through tourism development and associated action plans for economic regeneration. Such concerted activities by the resident community could promote ethnic and religious harmony. Furthermore it is an aim to use Kalpitiya as a showcase for co-existence of a community representing a shared culture.


The project expects to generate employment facilities for the local labour force and consequently raise the income of the local population. Furthermore, the project is expected to generate funds through entry tickets to heritage sites, for conservation management, maintenance and upgrade tourist infrastructure facilities. Substantial facilities for the tourism sector will be developed as well as substantial infrastructure for the underdeveloped area of Kalpitiya.


Project Proposal for Conservation and Preservation of Heritage Sites. Sri Lanka – Netherlands Cultural Cooperation Program with a special reference to Eastern and Northern Provinces. Phase II – 2009 – 2012. Ministry of Cultural Affairs and National Heritage, Sri Lanka, September 26, 2008.