A ruined church being buried by sand on Sri Lanka’s northern Jaffna peninsula features on the Atlas Obscura website, “the definitive guide to the world’s wondrous and curious places”.

Along a dirt road close by the tiny village of Manalkadu, the once-majestic St. Anthony’s church, and a collection of modest graves are slowly sinking into the sand a stone’s throw from the Indian Ocean.

Thought to be either a 17th century relic of Dutch colonial rule or a not-so-lasting legacy of the British, tourist access to the old church is now possible with the end of the 30-year civil war.

The website notes that “there is a new, rebuilt St. Anthony’s in the village, not to be confused with the ruins. Also, there are reports from some tour sites that the beaches around Manalkuda are patrolled by the army”.

Jaffna and the surrounding Tamil-dominated areas were scenes of some of the fiercest fighting during the war, and is only now beginning to open up to overseas visitors.

Atlas Obscura says that “in an age where everything seems to have been explored and there is nothing new to be found, we celebrate a different way of looking at the world”.

“Atlas Obscura is a collaborative project. We depend on our far-flung community of explorers (like you!) to help us discover amazing, hidden spots, and share them with the world. If you know of a curious place that’s not already in the Atlas, let us know.”

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