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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Headline for Must Visit Historical Places in Colombo - Adding Some Culture to the Beach Vacation
Joanna James Joanna James
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Must Visit Historical Places in Colombo - Adding Some Culture to the Beach Vacation

A place that entertains all types of travellers, be it the sun bathers or the historically curious lot, Colombo has everything from religious sites to temples in the middle of a lake.


Independence Square

Officially named Torrington Square, the Independence Square in Cinnamon Gardens is a prominent hangout spot in Colombo for people of all ages. Most of the posh Colombo hotels are located in this area and you can take a nice long walk in the evening and take a look at this impressive building that is a momentum of freedom, independence and what it means to Sri Lankans. The work of architecture and chilled out the atmosphere of the people who hang out here have made it a favourite of many visitors.


National Museum of Sri Lanka

An impressive white building that looks so Italian it might offer you some pasta; this mansion was founded by Sir William Henry Gregory, the British Governor of Ceylon of the time. Famous for being the first public museum in Sri Lanka, this place houses a vast collection of artefacts and antiques from all parts of the island.


Colombo Fort

Built by the Portuguese, the Colombo Fort is an impressive place to see and has a rich history as it was used by almost all the nations in the world. The harbour in Colombo was a major passing through point for the merchants of old times and they built a fort around the harbour, which is now known as the Colombo Fort.


Gangaramaya Temple

A thing of beauty, this quaint old Buddhist temple sits on the Beira Lake and is one of the most photographed places in Colombo. It's just a short walk away from hotels like Cinnamon Grand Colombo and was built in the 19th century, by a trader named Don Bastian. Located below a holy Bo tree, you can reach the temple by crossing a bridge that takes you out into the lake.


Jami Ul Alfar Mosque

Located in Second Cross Street, Pettah, this is a building you won't miss when you walk past it. Painted in bold stripes of white and red in slightly Aztec designs, this mosque was built in 1909 and looks as good as new even today.


Colombo Light House

Originally built to be used as a clock tower, a lantern was later added to this lighthouse in 1860. The fun fact about this light house/clock tower is that the person who manufactured the clock for this tower was the same person who made the clock for Big Ben in London. You can spot this tower as you exit the Galle Face Road and take a right at the junction of Chatham Street and Janathipathi Mawatha. The light house is not in use now, but the clock runs to this day.


Millers Building

Yet another iconic red and white striped building in Colombo, the Millers Buildings is one of the oldest department stores on the island and was founded by William Miller in 1844.

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