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Why Wolvendaal Church is special ?
The Wolvendaal Church is considered one of the most important Dutch buildings in Colombo. Built in 1749, the Church is located on a hill, providing a fantastic view overlooking the Colombo harbour.
It is believed that when the Church was built, what is now a bustling and crowded area was once a forested wilderness. The Dutch, mistaking a pack of jackals for wolves named the area Wolvendaal or Wolf's Dale.
The Church has a Doric facade which is solid and heavy. It was constructed in the shape of a Greek cross with walls 1.5 meters thick. The furniture inside is well preserved. The Dutch governors had a special pew made with elegant carved ebony chairs, and the workmanship in the wooden pulpit, baptismal font and lectern is just as beautiful. The stone floor includes the elaborate tombstones of five Dutch governors, moved here from an older Dutch Church in Fort in 1813.
What to explore at Wolvendaal Church?
The place is a must for the history lovers. The building, paintings, statues and graves are a recall to the dutch colonial period. The walls of the church are decorated with mural tablets. The original lock at the main entrance is remarkable. The floor is tiled with tombstones of those who buried within the church. Final tombstone of the dutch was sacrificed to the Jan Gerard van Angelbeek, the last dutch governor of Sri lanka in 1799. The Wolvandaal church is now being revamped. By the way the renovations and reconstructions are maintained by the Dutch reformed church in Sri Lanka.
Some of the tombstones had to be relocated. The walls had to be repaired. The high and strong walls are 5 feet in thickness. So now on, the church has gained its former pride. Travelers say that entering the church is a relaxation to their minds. There is a dome placed in the middle of the roof of the Wolvandaal church. It is arched with brick and guarded with a brazon lion. The lion bears a sword on one hand and 7 arrows in the other hand, represents 7 provinces which were under the Dutch republic. Thus the dome you can see is not the original dome. It had to be replaced due to a blast resulted of a lightening took place in 1856. Therefore the stone slabs had to be covered with an iron covering.
How to get to Wolvendaal Church?
There is a good, cheap public bus service but you need to know the route number of the bus that you would have to take to your destination. There does not appear to be a website providing any bus route or timetable information.
- Interesting historical building
- Wonderful and full of history
- A peaceful piece of Colonial history
- Escape the heat in a Christian way
- Dutch period architechure
Wolfendhal Street, Pettah, Colombo, Sri Lanka
Tips for you
The Wolvendaal Church is a reminder of the Dutch architecture. Built in 1749, the Woldendaal Church today is the most important Dutch era building in Sri Lanka. The church is in the form of a Greek cross. Inside the church, the pew boasts of exquisite ebony chairs. The craftsmanship on display at the wooden pulpit, lectern and the baptismal font is yet another reason to pay a visit to the church. The word ‘Wolvendaal’ means ‘Dale of Wolves’ in Dutch. When the church was built, the area surrounding it was covered in wilderness. The Dutch people mistook the roaming jackals in the wilderness for packs of wolves and named the place ‘Wolvendaal’. The church is still in function and you can join in the prayers at the church.