Management of the cultural heritage in Galle Fort - before and after the 26/12 tsunami devastation

Pali, Wijeratne (2005) Management of the cultural heritage in Galle Fort - before and after the 26/12 tsunami devastation. In: 15th ICOMOS General Assembly and International Symposium: ‘Monuments and sites in their setting - conserving cultural heritage in changing townscapes and landscapes’, 17 – 21 oct 2005, Xi'an, China. [Conference or Workshop Item]


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Abstract (in English)

Galle Fort was inscribed in the World Heritage List in December 1988 under the criterion IV. Galle gained its importance in the yesteryears as a strategic location in the main sea routes that interested many maritime powers and trading nations. The historic importance is the legacy that some of these nations left behind as a mutual heritage in a country that had its own vernacular architecture and engineering skills developed to a high degree. There have been many attempts by the authorities to conserve this monument since 1940. They included not only the legislation brought about under the Antiquities Ordnance but also Planning Legislation that covered Housing and Town Improvement Ordnance. In contrast there were the others with self-interests to earn high monetary stakes thereby over exploiting the site. This included the landowners, the foreign buyers who were trying to gentrify the area and the politicians who had their own vote catching agendas. There was a conservation and development plan in place for Galle Fort since 2001 and this was operative when the 26/12 Tsunami devastation took place. Water from the tidal waves that followed came inside the Fort not only from the western front directly from the sea but also from the land side as the receding waters took its toll. Even though at a first glance there was not much damage to be noticed, a closer look at the monument reveals some serious concerns on the safety of the structure. This paper sets out to discuss the attempts by the island nation in planning for the conservation and development of this World Heritage Site whilst still prioritising the rehabilitation of the lives and property of those who survived the terrible ordeal.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Pali, Wijeratne
Languages: English
Keywords: historic monuments; forts; World Heritage List; conservation; management; natural disaster; tsunami; development plan
Subjects: M.WORLD HERITAGE CONVENTION > 03. World Heritage List
G.DETERIORATION > 02. Causes of deterioration
H.HERITAGE TYPOLOGIES > 13. Historic town centres
H.HERITAGE TYPOLOGIES > 09. Historic buildings
Name of monument, town, site, museum: Old Town of Galle and its Fortifications, Sri Lanka
UNESCO WHC Number: 451
ICOMOS Special Collection: Scientific Symposium (ICOMOS General Assemblies)
ICOMOS Special Collection Volume: 2005, 15th
Depositing User: Jose Garcia
Date Deposited: 27 Nov 2010 17:56
Last Modified: 13 Jan 2011 19:15

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