|Monday, 01 November 2004|
from Ranil Wijayapala in Galle
"People irrespective of nationalistic, political and religious differences should commit themselves to restore and preserve the archaeological sites of the country which can be considered the jewels of the nation, President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga said yesterday.
Addressing a distinguish gathering of locals and foreigners at the ceremonial handing over of the conserved Dutch Reformed Church in Galle, President Kumaratunga said that it was the responsibility of all to preserve sites of archaeological value as they were fast becoming world heritage sites, in the face of globalisation.
"The preservation of the archaeological heritage of the country has no boundaries of political or religious differences", President Kumaratunga said.
The President officially handed over the conserved Dutch Reformed Church which is the oldest surviving Protestant place of worship in the country inherited to the nation during the Dutch colonial rule.
Built in 1755, the Dutch Reformed Church is also a major landmark within the historic city of Galle. The Dutch Reformed Church has been restored at a cost of Rs. 14 million with the support of UNESCO and the Government.
President Kumaratunga commended the services rendered by UNESCO in helping to restore cultural heritage sites of the country like Anuradhapura and Sigiriya.
President Kumaratunga said she was glad to note that most developing countries have begun funding for the preservation of archaeological sites.
President Kumaratunga said the Dutch have made a significant contribution to enrich Sri Lanka's cultural heritage. She said it was the responsibility of all to restore archaeological sites, whether they are Buddhist, Islamic or Hindu.
Cultural Affairs and National Heritage Deputy Minister, Samantha Vidyaratne, Governor of the Southern Provincial Council Kingsley T. Wickremaratne, Galle District MP and former Minister Vajira Abeywardena and Ambassador of the Netherlands Susan Blankhart were also spoke at this occasion.
Produced by Lake House