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Updated by Joanna James on Sep 13, 2018
Headline for Most popular historical sites in Colombo -Exploring the history of a metropolis
Joanna James Joanna James
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Most popular historical sites in Colombo -Exploring the history of a metropolis

Although it may not look so, Colombo is as historically rich as any other city in the island of Sri Lanka. Here is a list of most popular historical sites in Colombo that you can visit any day.


Colombo Fort

Colombo Fort

The modern day Colombo Fort may be a collection of overly enthusiastic street vendors and a random collection of shops, but the Colombo Fort itself is an important historical site in the island. Built by the Portuguese and further developed by the Dutch, Colombo Fort and Colombo Harbour both have a rich history. The harbour has always been a busy port where Greek, Arabian and Egyptian traders embarked to trade their goods. It was the busyness of the harbour that first attracted the Portuguese to the area, and the Fort was built thereafter as a mode of defence from invasions. It is the Fort that was built around the Colombo Harbour that was dubbed Colombo Fort.
Moving beyond the harbour, you could walk the streets of the area, and witness large buildings from 1800s such as the Millers Building – now renamed to Cargills Building – as well as come across a rare piece of extraordinary architecture that is overtaken by eager street vendors calling you for a bargain.


Independence Square

Independence Square

Independence Square, or as it is formally known Torrington Square, was in fact built years after Sri Lanka gained its independence in 1948. The open space construction resembles the Kandyan Audience Halls of yore and is built of concrete. The columns that hold up the mat-tiled roof resembles pillars of traditional Sri Lankan architecture and has intricate carvings upon it. In addition to being a tourist hot spot due to its beauty, the lions that adorn the gardens of the Hall are reminiscent of the Sri Lankan heritage. The place usually hosts numerous national functions including the Independence Day celebrations. As such, it is difficult for a person to find a day to wander around to whole-heartedly experience the construction. If you do get the chance, though, do not be alarmed by the presence of brides and grooms in the area, as this is a popular place for wedding photography as well.


Lake House

Lake House

Within walking distance from Cinnamon Lakeside Colombo, one of the most famous hotels in Colombo is the Lake House. Enjoying a privileged position at the base of Beira Lake, Lake House is the first newspaper office in Sri Lanka. Established in the early 1900s by D.R. Wijayawardene, the establishment came to life during a time period where the socio-political atmosphere of the country was a buzz. Displaying the architectural preferences of the time, the building has a large staircase leading up to the offices where the building is separated into several wings. The building has retained its 1930s atmosphere and features to this date. As it is a public office where people walk in and out, mainly to place advertisements on Sunday papers, you should have no difficulty in making your way through the building, breathing the air of a revolutionary time period in the history of the island.

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