We are in Sri Lanka: the city of Kilinochchi used to be the capital Vanni (or Wanni), an area of territory in the North of the country that was controlled by the militant LTTE organization (Liberation Tigers Tamil Eelam), better 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. The massive size and obvious violence needed to destroy it is sobering.
The size of the fallen tower is daunting, especially so because it now lies on the ground, dwarfing the nearby buildings and is just one of the many reminders of the deep scars caused as a result of 26-year long civil war between the Sri Lankan Army and the LTTE. The United Nations estimates about 40,000 people were killed during the war.
The A9 road, which links the North and the South of Sri Lanka, cuts right through also Kilinochchi. The city has by and large recovered from the war, more or less, but the destroyed water tower remains. In 2014 it was fenced off and turned into a monument, as a sad reminder of what the civil war left behind.
A gift shop on site has a big sign that reads “Souvenir Galore”. Items for sale include T-shirts with the slogan “Reawakening K-town!”
Traveling in a southbound direction, the water tower is on the left side of the road, and it is all but impossible to miss.