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Updated by Joanna James on May 02, 2024
Joanna James Joanna James
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05 Historical Places to Visit in Colombo – A Vintage City Full of Memories

Sri Lanka's cosmopolitan hub Colombo is a melting pot of historical attractions and modernisation that extends to every corner. Well fused with modernisation, vintage attractions lend an aura of magic


Independence Square

This is a beautiful monument built to resemble an audience hall from the Kandyan era of Sri Lanka; the place commemorates the country gaining independence from British rule. Although independence was gained in February of 1948 the hall was built much later. It sports stone columns inlaid with lotus flowers and other intricate carvings. The outer perimeter of the hall is flanked by stone lions that represent the brave endeavours of the Sri Lankan people, in their battle for freedom. Located at Torrington Square the Independence Square is surrounded by a lush parkland that has jogging and cycling tracks. A major tourist attraction this place is ideal for those of you who favour serene surroundings and open spaces coupled with a good dose of traditional culture.


National Museum Sri Lanka

Located almost walking distance from the Independence Square in Colombo 7, the National Museum is an enthralling visit for the entire family. Housed in a vintage Italian style mansion with expansive laws on either side this place well chronicles Sri Lanka's rich history. There are over 100,000 artefacts on display; including artefacts from past kingdoms. These compromise of a golden throne; crown, jewellery, garments and royal weaponry. Due importance is given to the indigenous 'vedda' tribes as well as utensils and weapons belonging to the Neanderthals of the country.


Colombo Lighthouse

Easily reached from your Colombo hotel, the lighthouse is one of the city's oldest monuments. It was initially established as a clock tower overlooking the Colombo Harbour in 1860. The lantern was added later when the tower was chosen to serve as a lighthouse. Interestingly the original clock installed was manufactured by the same designers of London's Big Ben; sadly it was replaced in 1913. The clock tower now stands in the middle of a busy junction on Janadipathi Mawatha and Chatham Street. This mind you is the only lighthouse across the globe that tells time and stands in the middle of a street.


Gangaramaya Temple

Situated a hop step and jump away from the other vintage attractions of Colombo the Gangaramaya Temple is located on the Beira Lake. It's steeped in history that goes back almost 2,000 years. It is believed to have been built by Don Bastian in the 19th century as part of his endeavour to revive Buddhism in the country. The temple located on water is accessed by a wooden bridge and is famous for its beautiful blue roofed building, relic chamber, Bo tree and vestiges of Buddha and Arahat Seevali. By evening the temple is lit up with a hundred twinkling lights and is an inviting quarter to explore, especially convenient to reach from Cinnamon Lakeside Colombo.


Wolvendaal Church

This is one of the country's oldest churches built in 1749 during the Dutch occupation. A fabulous place to explore, the church is inlaid with lovely period furniture, decorative pews, carved lectern, pulpit and chairs. The Oldest Dutch tombstone is found at this church which will prove to be quite fascinating to culture buffs.