Kilinochchi Water Tower – Kilinochchi, Sri Lanka - Atlas Obscura
Our new kids' book is on sale! Shop now.

Kilinochchi, Sri Lanka

Kilinochchi Water Tower

A massive fallen water tank bombed by the Tamil Tigers in the final stages of the long Sri Lankan Civil War. 

The city of Kilinochchi used to be the de facto capital Vanni (or Wanni), a swath of territory in the North of Sri Lanka that was controlled by the militant LTTE organization (Liberation Tigers Tamil Eelam), also known as the Tamil Tigers.

The city’s size increased and decreased through 30 years of civil war fought by the insurgent group and the Sri Lankan Army. Toward the end of the war in 2008, shortly before the Army regained control and liberated Kilinochchi, an LTTE contingent bombed the water tower that provided water to the whole city. 

To see it today the size of the fallen tower is daunting, especially so because it now lies on the ground, dwarfing the nearby buildings.

The A9 road, which links the North and the South of Sri Lanka, cuts right through Kilinochchi.  The city has by and large recovered from the war, or at least its infrastructure has, but the destroyed water tower remains; in 2014 it was fenced off and turned into a monument, a stark reminder of what the civil war left behind.

Traveling in a northbound direction, the water tower is on the righthand side of the road. Given its size, it is all but impossible to miss.