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Conservation Plan For the Old Town of Galle and its Fortifications, Sri Lanka
Author:Hemantha BALACHANDRA  PublishDate:2013-02-26  Hits:2165

Galle is a city located on the southwestern tip of Sri Lanka. It was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1988, for it is the best example of a fortified city built by Europeans in South and South-East Asia. The city and its fortifications show the interaction between European architectural styles and South Asian traditions.

 

With the rapid development of tourism, the Outstanding Universal Value of Galle is under threat. The historic houses remaining from the 16th century, also regarded as the most significant part of the historic built fabric, are diminishing. People have altered their houses for commercial activities without respect to their historic character. The percent of historic building stock has declined from 80% to 35%.

 

Therefore, the 2002 Master Plan for the conservation of Galle has been prepared by ICOMOS Sri Lanka, with an emphasis on the promotion of Cultural Tourism. In the Master Plan, projects give priority to the maintenance of historic fabric, conservation of buildings, and the development of visitor infrastructure, as well as public awareness and participation. At the beginning, it was difficult to find even ten home owners to whom financial assistance could be provided for the restoration of houses. However, community awareness workshops and the participation of the community in the conservation process have changed people's attitude towards restoration. Now many property owners have come forward, expressed their willingness to conserve their houses, and requested financial and technical assistance.

 

With the collaboration of the government of the Netherlands, the Galle Development Plan for an Urban Development Area (2005 to 2025) has been proposed by the Urban Development Authority of Sri Lanka. The Galle Development Plan includes the Core Zone and Buffer Zone, where additional planning regulations, conservation and restoration projects, and strategic plans to protect the visual integrity from the International Cricket Stadium will be implemented.

 

 






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