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Updated by Joanna James on Jul 13, 2023
Joanna James Joanna James
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List of Historic Places to Visit in Colombo

One doesn't have to venture out of Colombo to experience Sri Lanka's incredible history. There are many incredible landmarks to visit within the city itself.


Old Parliament Building

This is an spectacular sight to behold, given that it is a Neo-Baroque style building located within a fairly modern metropolis. There's many a Colombo city hotel such as the likes of Mandarina Colombo to be found around this building, further adding to its mystique. The old parliament building was constructed by then British during their rule, with the purpose of housing Ceylon's Legislative Council. Eventually it housed Sri Lanka's parliament, who eventually moved into a newer facility in Sri Jayawardanepura Kotte. It currently houses the Presidential Secretariat of Sri Lanka.


Wolvendaal Church

This sacred institution is one of the oldest churches in the country, and still functions as a church to this day. It was built by the Dutch and completed in 1757. The style of the church is Doric, and contains a massive Greek cross that bears a thickness of five feet. The materials used for the construction of the church are fascinating and includes clay-ironstone, coral and lime plaster. Initially, the dome of the church had a massive crowned lion with a sword in one hand and seven arrows on the other. A bolt of lightning destroyed the lion and most of the domed roof and the current church simply has an iron covering. During the church's three hundred years of existence, many notable figures were buried here, from all the relevant communities including Dutch, Burgher and Sinhalese.


Old Town Hall

One might think this place would serve as an ideal setting for a horror movie. The Old Town Hall building serves as an unofficial museum of sorts for a vast collection of old almost life-sized dolls. The dolls were made to serve as a replica for a meeting that took place in 1906. Interestingly, one doesn't need a ticket to enter the building, and anyone is welcome. There are many unofficial guides within the building who will show you around for a sum of a hundred rupees. Sadly, the building has fallen into disuse, and what was once a grand institution is now an eerie old house. The architectural style of the building is Venetian Gothic Revival, and is a sight to behold. It is similar to a wide variety of buildings built by the Dutch in India.


The Last King's Prison Cell

If you happen to visit the Dutch Hospital precinct of Sri Lanka, this is definitely one of the places you should check out. Many have not heard of it, but it is a very significant historic attraction. This historic monument marks the end of an era, since it is a tiny cell that held the last king of Sri Lanka. Incredibly, it is hidden within a car park, and if you were to visit during a weekday, you might not even notice it through all the vehicles. The cell is quite small, barely the size of two tuk-tuks, and is an invaluable piece of history lost in the 21st century.

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