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Updated by Joanna James on Jul 13, 2023
Headline for List of ancient architecture in Colombo
Joanna James Joanna James
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List of ancient architecture in Colombo

The incredible island nation of Sri Lanka is teeming with history, so much so that one doesn't have to necessarily venture far away from the city to discover the country's ancient heritage.


Christ Church

Situated in Mt.Lavinia, locally known as Galkissa, is one of the most renowned churches in the country. It was built in 1843 and contains four ancient tombs which are officially protected by the government of Sri Lanka. Although it was officially built in the 1800s, accounts describe the church's existence as a building without a roof as far as back as the early 1700s. After the British invasion, Governor Sir Robert Browning led the initiative to convert the basic facility to a fully-fledged church. In the present day it remains as one of the few churches with a strict open-door policy.


Balapokuna Raja Maha Viharaya

Also located within easy reach of the main city is this historic temple which is in the Pamankada area on the 6th mile-post junction. The history of the temple is quite obscure, which adds to its mystery. The name of the temple is due to the large natural pond that is found where it is situated. The temple is believed to be a particularly sacred place and is associated with miracles. It is believed that the deity known as Dadimunna treats the area as his home. There's even a shrine which was built in honour of Dadimunna.


Akeshwara Archaelogical Site

One of the most significant ancient kingdoms that thrived near the metropolitan region was the Kingdom of Kotte, which truly flourished during the 15th century. King Parakramabahu VI, upon his ascension to the throne, made Kotte the capital of the nation. He eventually conquered the various other kingdoms of the island and truly unified the nation. One of the most notable heritage sites in the Kotte region is the Akeshwara Archaelogical Site which is believed to be the burial site of an ancient minister to the king. The site is believed to be a place of great power since the minister happened across it as he observed a hare being chased by a jackal, but once the hare reached this spot, it began to chase the jackal instead. This incredible place is just minutes away from any Colombo city hotel during ideal traffic conditions, so if you're staying at a place such as Mandarina Colombo, be sure to explore this locale.


Pitta Kote Gal Ambalama

Another ancient structure that dates back to the time of the Kotte Kingdom is this. An 'ambalama' is a traditional type of structure unique to the nation. In ancient times these were constructed by traders, travellers and pilgrims to serve as places of rest. They bear very simple designs since these structures were utilised for free. This particular ambalama was used by visitors who travelled to Kotte when it was one of the ancient capitals of Sri Lanka. The earliest known reference to this structure was found on an ancient map of the Kotte Kingdom which shows the structure's presence. This means that it was built sometime between 1413 and 1565.

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