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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Formerly Wartorn Tricomalee: Multiethnic city on Sri Lanka's Northeast

We did a day trip to Tricomalee today. This is one of the most strategic naval port in the Indian Ocean. It was long fought over between the Portuguese, Dutch and the British.  When Singapore fell to the Japanese during the WWII, Trinco became the British Empire's key fortress on the Indian Ocean.

More recently, the city, with its explosive mix of Tamil, Sinhalese and Muslim heritage, became an area of contention between the Sri Lankan government and Tamil Tiger rebels who wanted the city as the second city of the Tamil Eelam.  The city, although controlled by the government forces, was surrounded by guerrillas.  Even today, half a year after the end of the civil war, one sees soldiers patrolling the streets. A guard post or check point every 100m or so, within and outside the city.

Now with the civil war over, there are plans to exploit the safe and deep natural harbour of Trincomalee as a transhipment port.  The infrastructure definitely needs a lot of improvement...roads and power have been neglected over the years, but we have seen the bustling streets and alot of commercial activity...more than many places we have seen in Sri Lanka.  Let's wish them luck.

Posted via email from Nomadic Republic2

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