Jaffna facts for kids

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Jaffna
யாழ்ப்பாணம்
යාපනය
City
Clockwise from top: Jaffna Public Library, Nallur Kandaswamy temple, Jaffna Fort, the Jaffna-Pannai-Kayts highway
Clockwise from top: Jaffna Public Library, Nallur Kandaswamy temple, Jaffna Fort, the Jaffna-Pannai-Kayts highway
Country Sri Lanka
Province Northern
District Jaffna
Area
 • Total 20.2 km2 (7.8 sq mi)
Elevation 5 m (16 ft)
Population (2012)
 • Total 88,138
 • Density 4,363/km2 (11,301/sq mi)
Time zone Sri Lanka Standard Time Zone (UTC+5:30)
Website Jaffna Municipal Council

Jaffna is the capital city of the Northern Province of Sri Lanka. With a population of 88,138, Jaffna is Sri Lanka's 12th largest city. Being strategically located and known for rich cultural heritage and natural beauty, Jaffna is approximately six miles (9.7 kilometres) away from Kandarodai which served as a famous emporium in the Jaffna peninsula from classical antiquity.

Jaffna's suburb Nallur served as the capital of the four-century-long medieval Jaffna kingdom. Prior to the Sri Lankan civil war, it was Sri Lanka's second most populated city after the commercial capital Colombo. The 1980s insurgent uprising led to extensive damage, expulsion of part of the population, and military occupation. Since the end of civil war in 2009, refugees and internally displaced people have started to return to their homes and government and private sector reconstruction has begun.

The majority of the city’s population are Sri Lankan Tamils. Most Sri Lankan Tamils are Hindus followed by Christians, Muslims and a small Buddhist minority. The city is home to number of educational institutions established during the colonial and post-colonial period. It also has number of commercial institutions, minor industrial units, banks, hotels and other government institutions. It is home to many historical sites such as the popular Jaffna library that was burnt down and rebuilt and the Jaffna fort rebuilt during the Dutch colonial period.

Economy & Transportation

Jaffna city was founded as a trading town by European merchants. Although a historic port used by the native Jaffna kingdom was already in existence when the Portuguese arrived, it was the European mercantile activity that made it prominent. In colonial times, production of clothes, items of gold and silver, processing of tobacco, rice and other related activities formed an important part of the economic activities.

Currently it survives as a fishing port. The city had a wide range of industries, including food processing, packaging, making of household items, and salt processing, but most ceased after 1995. Since then, most industrialists, entrepreneurs, and business people have relocated to the rest of Sri Lanka and abroad. Shopping malls and hotels such have been built boosting the tourism industry in the city.

The primary railway station in the city is the Jaffna Railway Station. The A-9 highway connecting the city with the rest of the country was opened after the 2002 ceasefire. It is served by government and private sector coaches and buses. Commercial flights are available from Colombo to Jaffna via the Palali Airport. Since 2017 an express ferry service connects Jaffna with Delft islands.

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