iSurprise Fort Hospital (Wijethunga Walawwa)

Old Hospital in Dutch Elephant Fort

Fort Hospital

Old Dutch maps show this building as a hospital. Located near the elephant baths at the Thotupala junction with a horse packhouse right behind it, we assume it served the population of caretakers and officers in the fort. With the wide verandah and balcony it looks more like a Dutch townhouse, so we think the doctor or Chief Medical officer also lived here to treat the Fort residents; humans and perhaps also elephants.

A new life

Today the building is known as Wijethunga Walawwa. ‘Veda gedara’ means Village traditional doctor’s house. The house is very sturdy - the thick coral walls survived the tsunami - but years of neglect have taken their toll and now it is almost collapsing. Luckily the building was recently purchased by Dilmah, the tea company and is now undergoing renovation.

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