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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Headline for Must Visit Places in Colombo - A Lesson in History and an Adventure through time!
Joanna James Joanna James
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Must Visit Places in Colombo - A Lesson in History and an Adventure through time!

Colombo is one of the most rapidly developing cities in all of South East Asia, yet it has its monuments of history, let's look at some of the must-visit places in Colombo.


Independence Square

The Independence Commemoration Hall located right at the Independence Square in Cinnamon Gardens is a national monument in Sri Lanka. Having gained independence from the British rule in 1948, this monument was built long after. The monument, while having been made from concrete, bears columns that are inspired by ancient Sri Lankan architecture, and was designed to resemble an audience hall from the ancient city of Kandy. You'll witness rows of stone lions that resemble a guarding stance that elevates the majestic nature of the monument. Through its elaborate stone carvings and paintings, the monument captures the utmost significance of the ancient architecture and is breathtaking to behold. Due to its historical significance and architecture, the site today is a major tourist attraction and is one of the key points of a visit to Colombo.


National Museum Sri Lanka

Founded by Sir William Henry Gregory, the British governor of Ceylon during that time, the Colombo National Museum is a colonial type mansion heavily influenced by Italian architecture. It is Sri Lanka's oldest, largest and most prestigious museum. First opened to the public in January of 1877 with only 800 items on display, today that number has grown to an impressive 100,000. If you're an avid fan of history, the museum also maintains a library that hosts a vast collection of old and rare historical books and chronicles. The museum board is heavily involved in conducting research into prehistoric ethnology, culture, crafts and anthropology. It also conducts lectures and seminars for the public periodically.


Colombo Fort

Built many years ago by the Portuguese and then further developed by the Dutch who invaded their regime. The Colombo Fort and Colombo Harbour contain an immense amount of history. Greek, Egyptian and Arabian merchants frequently used these for their shipping necessities until 1506. The Portuguese who took control of the Harbour built the Fort as a defence mechanism from potential invaders, this fort is the Colombo Fort. After the Dutch Invaded the fort in 1658, the city began systematically developing. The British however, took control of the fort in 1796 and invaded the entire country by 1815. It was then that they further developed Colombo city, making it the commercial hub of Ceylon. The Governor's quarters was built into the fort itself, which today is the President's residence. If you're looking for Colombo Hotels to lodge in while you explore the city, you'll be able to choose from a whole range on offer such as the Ramada Colombo for instance.


Gangaramaya Temple

If you're looking at sampling some of Colombo's prime religious and cultural locations, the Gangaramaya Temple is an excellent choice. The history of this temple dates back over 2000 years into the past. Said to have been built in the 19th century by Don Bastion, a shipowner along with a trader who played a leading role in the revival of Buddhism in Sri Lanka. The temple is located on the waters of the Beira Lake, beside a holy Bo Tree and is accessible only via a wooden bridge. It is a sapling of the 'Sri Maha Bodhi', the tree that many believe the Lord Buddha to have preached under, this sapling is now a large tree that is over a hundred years old. The temple is renowned for its building, relic chamber that includes relics of the Buddha as well as its museum and library.