The late King's Palace (now library), Kandy.
Photographer: Fiebig, Frederick
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph by Frederick Fiebig from an album of 70 handcoloured salt prints, showing a library, once part of the King's Palace, at Kandy in Sri Lanka (Ceylon). Fiebig's photographs of Ceylon, probably taken in 1852, are considered the earliest surviving photographic record of the island. Kandy, in the central hill region on the Mahaweli river was the inland stronghold of the Sinhalese kings, serving as capital from the 15th century till the onset of British rule in 1815. The hilly terrain and the river provided natural protection against European invasions to which the coastal areas were prone, and also lent scenic beauty to the town. For centuries Kandy, originally known as Senkadagala, has been the bastion of Sri Lanka's culture and its spiritual centre. The palace complex at Kandy includes Sri Lanka's most venerated shrine: the Dalada Maligawa or Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic. The last King of Kandy was Vickrama Rajasinha (ruled 1798-1815), and the many structures which comprised his palace complex included the 'King's Palace', the Queen's Palace', 'Queen's Bath', and 'Audience Hall'. The Ulpenge or queen's bathing pavilion was in front of the Dalada Maligawa and used by the British for their United Services Library.