China Fort


Fassiyathush Shazuliyya ZaviyaFassiyathush Shazuliyya Zaviya

China Fort is the gem trading fair of Beruwela. The gem trading is dominated by the Sri Lanka Muslims, who constitute 7% of the population of Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankan Muslims are descendents of Moors. Almost the entire neighborhood of China Fort has been engaged in the gem trade for generations. Much of the gem world’s colored precious stones are traded through these merchants. The Sri Lankan Musilms trace their gem trade back to the era when the Berber’s from North Africa’s Barbary States-Algeria, Libiya, Morocco and Tunisia, dominated the seas from the Mediterranean to the Indian Ocean. Berber merchant ships called at Beruwela, perhaps named after the Berbers-Moors. The harbour where the vessels of the Moors were anchored is believed have become to be known as Berberyn Harbour on a later date.

China-Fort, Predominately a Muslim Town with 80% of its Population engaged in The Gem (precious Stone) business. In the late 60’s at the height of the Gem Boom in the country, these Muslim Traders went to Far Inland Places, Like Ratnapura, Pelmadulla, Elehera in Search in Precious Stones which were been mined by Sinhalese People and bought their stones in the Natural Form, Called “Rough Stones”.

The China Fort Muslim developed a Unique Talent in Performing the Stones by Cutting and Polishing enhancing the Value of the Stones to sometimes over 100% in Value making good Profits. This Became a thriving business and all of the People of Beruwela got engaged in this Business. The stones they bought were Sapphires in Colors of Blue, Pink, Red, Yellow, Purple, Star Sapphires, Cats Eye’s, Alexandrite, Padparascha (found Uniquely in Sri Lanka Only) and Many more Varieties.
They also included Semi Precious stones like, Garnets, Tourmalines, etc. But it was the Precious Stones that were giving the major interest due to its value addition after cutting and finishing. These Sapphires are sought after in the world at that time and even today. All these cutting, Polishing and selling by these Muslims of China Fort was done at Home and was a Village Oriented Business.

The Market called “Pathe” was where most of the trading was done from the early times of the Gem boom in the late 60’s. Today one could see the many array of stones been sold in the streets at reasonable prices. Many traders, buyers from both Local and overseas come to this Market to buy their requirements. Usually Trading takes place Everyday from about 10.30am to 3pm.
One could purchase fine Sapphires in all colors, Rubies, Cats Eye’s, Alexandrite, Star Sapphires in Blue, Pink, and Grey, Padparadsha’s, and a Ray of Semi Precious stones. You could also buy them in the form of finished or even in the rough form.
For those who would like to purchase these products, it is advised to visit the place with a knowledgeable person on the subject.


Fassiya Grand Jummah Masjid

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