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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Joanna James Joanna James
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Historic Places in Colombo – Vintage Delights to Explore

Colombo city is a lovely melting pot of old and new. The evergreen commercial capital is fast developing while retaining many of its colonial relics, past grandeurs and a charm that's hard to shake.


Colombo Fort for Local Flavour

If you really want to witness the heart of Colombo the fort area is best. Built by the Portuguese who were the first to colonise Sri Lanka the Colombo Fort was further developed by the invading Dutch. The Colombo Fort and Harbour both go back in time playing a major role in the country's history. Up until the year 1506, the harbour was used as a main port of call by visiting Greek, Arabic and Egyptian merchants. This was until the Portuguese took control of the harbour. Today this bustling precinct in a dusty noisy and absolutely interesting area to explore; relish the busy throngs of locals all in rush to complete their business, the shouting tradesmen peddling their wares and amazing lines of traffic honking their horns and navigating the busy streets lined with both modern and vintage buildings.


The Independence Square Historic Monument

Independence Square is a beautiful structure that commemorates the country gaining independence from British rule. The national monument is located in Colombo 7 on what was formerly called Torrington Square. Independence to Sri Lanka came on the 4th of February 1948; however, Independence Square was built much later. The structure represents a hall from the Kandyan era and sports stone pillars with traditional motifs carved into them. Stone lions guard the entrance while the expansive lawns surrounding the hall add a calm and relaxing vibe to the entire area. Do visit the adjoining museum displaying memorabilia pertaining to Sri Lanka's journey to Independence and enjoy the soothing environs favoured by joggers and those out for some fresh air.


The Colombo Lighthouse

This lighthouse started out as a clock tower in 1860; the clock was built by the same manufacturers of London's Big Ben but sadly had to be replaced in 1913. The clock tower converted to a lighthouse when the lamp was added in 1865. Today it does not function as a lighthouse. and is the only one in the world that now sits right smack in the middle of the bustling city. Visible from bird's eye view point's such as Capitol TwinPeaks in the heart of the city, this clock tower is well worth a visit.


Millers Building

Culture buffs should not miss this vintage marvel. One of the city's oldest buildings and most iconic landmarks the Millers building located in Fort is a red brick structure that screams Victorian grandeur. Set up by William Miller and David Sime in 1844 during the British rule, this site is a must visit. In fact, it is one of the iconic landmarks that most realtors use when advertising luxury apartments for sale in Colombo; as most buyers wish to be located in the heart of the city.


Colombo Dutch House Museum

This is a 17th century colonial mansion that was once the lavish residence of Count August Van Ranzo. Today it is preserved as a heritage site pertaining to the Dutch occupation of the country. Offering one an insight to the colonist's lifestyles the museum displays period furniture, crockery and other interesting exhibits.

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