The Jaffna Library is one of Jaffna’s most notable landmarks. A beautiful structure located close by the Fort, this is a true example of British Colonial Architecture. The foundation stone of the library was laid in 1955 but its actual construction began only in 1958 and was completed in 1960. The library was built in mogul style but was burnt by a fire incited by an uncontrolled mob in 1981 which was during the onset of the civil war. It was one of the biggest libraries in Asia, containing over 97,000 books and manuscript. The library was restored and rehabilitated in 2001. It is Sri Lanka’s second main public library.
Jaffna residents have long considered their city to be one of Asia’s finest intellectual capitals, and the library is an important Tamil cultural centre and historic institution. The original world-renowned collection destroyed in the fire included more than 90,000 volumes, including irreplaceable Tamil documents such as the one surviving copy of Yalpanam Vaipavama,a history of Jaffna.
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