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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Headline for Things to do in Colombo - Discover all that the Capital of Sri Lanka has to Offer
Joanna James Joanna James
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Things to do in Colombo - Discover all that the Capital of Sri Lanka has to Offer

The capital of Sri Lanka, the city of Colombo, is marked with a number of iconic tourist attractions such as the Independence Memorial Hall, Arcade Independence, Beire Lake and the Dutch Hospital.


Spend Some Time at Arcade Independence

The newly established Arcade Independence is housed in what were known as the asylum of Colombo. Subsequent to the mental hospital being moved from Colombo to Angoda, the premises which housed the hospital fell to ruin. Following several renovation measures which were taken by the state in and around Colombo, the asylum was also subject to renovation and presently called Arcade Independence. The Arcade, as it is known, houses a number of retail outlets selling world renowned brands such as Charles and Keith, as well as a number of eateries and restaurants, salons and nail spas. The arcade independence is also equipped with a food court. Further, the arcade also includes a cinema known as the Empire Cineplex.


Hop on Over to the Independence Memorial Hall

Alongside the Arcade is the Independence Memorial Hall which was built to commemorate the island gaining independence from the British rule. Completed in 1953, the Independence Commemoration Hall is found in Cinnamon Gardens and was designed by Tom Neville Wynne – Jones and Shirley D'Alwis. It has hosted a number of Independence Day Celebrations over the years as well as the Oaths Ceremony of the incumbent President of the island.


Take a Stroll around Diyatha Uyana

Located on the outskirts of Colombo, Diyatha Uyana is found in the suburb of Battaramulla. Formerly a marshy area which was poorly developed, the Diyatha Uyana is at present a place which hosts numerous markets. On various days of the week, Diyatha Uyana sells plants and trees, clothes, and handicrafts. The area is also equipped with a small eating area that has several food outlets. Surrounding Diyatha Uyana is the famous walking path where locals generally engage in exercise. The walking paths run around Diyatha Uyana and along the waters of the Diyawanna Oya. When one travels along the Parliament Road and passes the Parliament Grounds, they will be able to see another walking path that runs along the Diyawanna Oya whilst overlooking the Parliament of Sri Lanka. The walking paths stop at the main road towards Kotte but continue again along several paddy fields towards the Sri Jayawardenapura Hospital. The area is extremely peaceful and is ideal for a scenic stroll in the evenings. To reach Diyatha Uyana, one can take public transport or hire a cab. It is best visited in the early mornings or in the evenings when the sun is not very hot.


Have a Delicious Meal at the Old Colombo Dutch Hospital

A mere walking distance from many a Colombo city hotel, the Old Colombo Dutch Hospital is one of the oldest buildings in the area. It was first built by the Dutch as a space to attend to the health of officers serving in the Dutch East India Company. After Ceylon achieved independence from the British, the building was used to house the Colombo Apothecaries and the Colombo Fort Police Station. However, in 1996, the building was significantly damaged by the Central Bank bombing. Given the historical importance of the building as well as the Dutch colonial architecture it embodies, the building was renovated and transformed into what is presently known as 'Dutch Hospital'; a shopping and dining destination which hosts a number of elite restaurants as well as retail outlets.


Walk around the Beire Lake

Located in the heart of Colombo, the Beire Lake is found around the corner from nearby hotels such as Cinnamon Red Colombo. The history of the lake can be traced back to the 16th century when the Portuguese occupied various parts of the island. The Portuguese are believed to have built the lake in order to provide protection to Colombo against attacks from local kings. Even after the creation of the Lake, local kings such as King Mayadunne and his son King Rajasingha I launched attacks against the Portuguese. While King Mayadunne managed to cut of supplies to the invaders in 1578, King Rajasingha managed to cut drain the Beire Lake by cutting off some of the canals that transported water to the lake. While the Dutch expanded the lake and created Slave Island, the British transformed the Lake to be utilised for recreational purposes such as rowing. The state is presently in the process of transforming the area surrounding the Beire Lake into a commercial centre and as such, the Lake features prominently in the Western Region Megapolis Project.