iSee Kruys Church

Dutch presence in Jaffna

The Past - An Architectural Wonder

When the Dutch East India Company (VOC) completed the new Jaffna Fort in 1706, they built a big church right in the middle. The Kruys Church (also known as 'The Dutch Church') looked similar to the famous Wolvendaal Church in Colombo, which was built half a century later. Designed in typical Calvinist architecture, the Kruys Church was massive—it could host up to 600 worshippers!—and easily the most prominent building within the Jaffna Fort. Its thick outer walls, shaped like a Greek Cross, were made of coral stone with a covering of cement and the pillars, arches and pediments were built with imported Dutch bricks.

The Present - Reduced to Rubble

During the conflict between the Tamil Tigers and the Sri Lankan army between 1985 and 1995, the Kruys Church was largely destroyed. At present, only rubble remains; even the gravestones that formed the original church floor are no longer there.

The Future - Amplifying Spirituality ?

The church's skeleton could be resurrected to reflect its former glory and made into a place for people to visit or worship once again. The cross-shaped structure could welcome people of all backgrounds and religions while educating them about its history of architecture.

Had it survived, the church would have been the oldest surviving Dutch Church in Sri Lanka.
— Chamara Sumanapala, Journalist, Lankan World View
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