Old Welekade Market (Badulla)

Old Welekade Market, Badulla
The Old Welekade Market (Sinhala: බදුල්ල පැරණි වෙලේකඩේ වෙළඳ ගොඩනැගිල්ල), incorrectly known as Badulla Dutch Fort, is a historic building situated in the middle of Badulla town, Sri Lanka. This building is popularly known among the locals as Welekade (Wele- paddy field, Kade-shop) as it had been built on the escarpment near a paddy field (Priyadarshani & Gunasena, 2017). 

The British constructed this building in 1889 in Badulla after they signed the Kandyan Convention with the Sri Lankan Chieftains in 1818, to be used as a market/trade centre (Priyadarshani & Gunasena, 2017).

The construction of markets became a usual urban tradition in Sri Lanka since the beginning of the colonial period. During the British occupation, markets were built in several main towns in the country such as Colombo, Galle, and Jaffna. The Welekade market at Badulla (built-in 1889) and the vegetable market at Galle (built-in 1890) provide evidence that the British had started to build markets around the country during the late 19th century. The Old Nupe Market at Matara is thought to be a contemporary work of the Welekade market.

The Welekade Market is also considered the first autonomous market built in Sri Lanka (Priyadarshani & Gunasena, 2017).

The building
Old Welekade MarketThe building mainly shows architectural features belonging to the British. British-styled wooden arches, turrets, corridors, etc. have increased the architectural as well as the archaeological value of the building. 

The layout of the building typically follows the shape of a cross. The middle of the building is an octagonal-shaped open space to which four corridors are attached at right angles to each other. The building has a central high roof and a lower roof with four entrances. The roof is tiled with semi-cylindrical clay tiles (Sinhala-ulu) and supported by several wooden pillars

The building has been conserved by the Archaeological Department.

A protected monument
The ancient Dutch Fort premises in Velekade Village in the Grama Niladhari Division No. 78-D Badulla Centre, in Badulla Divisional Secretary’s Division is an archaeological protected monument, declared by a government gazette notification published on 6 June 2008.

Old Welekade Market Old Welekade Market
1) Priyadarshani, S.A.N.; Gunasena, I.P.P., 2017. Pauranika Sthana Ha Smaraka: Badulla Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Department of Archaeology. ISBN: 955-9159-48-8. pp.43-44.
2) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 1553. 6 June 2008. p.529.

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This page was last updated on 22 June 2022

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