Old Hospital in Dutch Elephant Fort
- 78, Darmarama Mawatha, Matara Fort
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.