A historic symbol of Jaffna
The Jaffna Public Library has been an iconic symbol of the northern province ever since its establishment in 1933. Although enduring a horrific burning in 1981 when it was one of the largest libraries in Asia, the Jaffna Library continues to rest on a quiet road just outside the city center, with all its glory emphasised by the now resorted classical architecture. At the time, the library held nearly 100,000 books and manuscripts – including ancient literature and documents from renowned scholars. These were treasured as preservations of the rich culture and heritage of Sri Lanka’s northern province, and yet even though the collection today does not match what it once was, the Library still commands a dignity that is highly respected by the people of Jaffna and beyond.
Escape to the Jaffna Library in the early evening just before it closes at 6 PM, with a 5-minute drive or tuk-tuk ride from North Gate by Jetwing. Visitors are also required to remove their footwear before entering the library premises as a sign of respect to the culture preserved by this historical icon. A number of wings in the library remain inaccessible to walk-in visitors, however you are free to explore several other areas including the colourful garden that surrounds the library building.