Trincomalee (Trinco) appeals to tourists primarily as the gateway to the fine Uppuveli and Nilaveli beaches. Possibly the site of historic Gokana in the Mahavamsa (Great Chronicle), the town itself is mildly attractive and is situated around several picturesque bays and rocky peninsulas. Its economic trump card is a superb deep-water port, considered to be one of the world’s finest. However, this has made it the target for all manner of foreign attacks: the Danish preceded the Portuguese, who desecrated the city’s holiest Hindu shrine before losing Trinco to the Dutch. By the British takeover in 1795, the city had changed hands another seven times. It suffered further attacks in WWII, this time from Japanese bombing raids.
Today the population is a potentially explosive mix of Tamils, Sinhalese and Muslims. Although the city was safe and enjoyably vibrant at the time of research, interethnic tensions erupted again in April 2006, so keep your ear to the ground.
Trincomalee destination guides
Secrets of Sri Lanka
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