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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Headline for Top 05 Places to See in Colombo With Cultural Significance – Savour the Past, Enjoy the Present!
Joanna James Joanna James
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Top 05 Places to See in Colombo With Cultural Significance – Savour the Past, Enjoy the Present!

An ancient city which keeps on evolving, Colombo has come a long way since its colonial days. One of Asia's most contemporary cities, the place is a mix of old culture and new trends, well amalgamated to offer visitors a quintessential experience of Sri Lankan history with modern vibes.


Explore the Old Dutch Hospital

Don't let the name fool you, the Old Dutch Hospital may be one of Colombo's oldest buildings, it dates back to 1681 but is today, one of the city's most chic dining and shopping venues. The place since its construction has served many purposes; it was originally the designated health centre for the staff of the Dutch East India Company and later used by apothecaries, as well as, seafarers. Today the building has been turned into a dining and shopping complex which retains its 17th century architecture. As such, the culture buff is treated to vintage Dutch courtyards and other architectural beauties to admire; hence, look forward to culture and a very good Sri Lankan meal at the Old Dutch Hospital.


Visit the Old Colombo Lighthouse

This lighthouse which served a purpose when it was built in 1856, now sits in the middle of a busy street! Standing at a height of 132 feet the tower was gradually surrounded by tall buildings over a course of time. In its heyday, the classic Victorian style lighthouse shone its light to guide approaching ships to the safety of the Colombo Harbour. The clock in the tower was only installed in 1914 and helped workers who could not afford a watch to keep time. You will find the clock tower cum lighthouse on Chatham Street, just a hop, step and jump from a well-located city hotel Colombo has to offer.


Check Out the World Trade Centre

Standing at a height of 152 metres, the World Trade Centre in Colombo is the 4th tallest twin-tower building in South Asia. Opened in 1997, this building has been one of the assets which pulled Colombo into the 20th century. Located just 15 minutes from Mandarina Colombo, the building sits a few metres from the Old Lighthouse on Chatham Street. The complex is home to a bevy of modern offices as well as, restaurants, shops and recreational centres. A sought-after business hub, the place is great for shopaholics too, due to the presence of some exclusive stores not found anywhere else on the island. Mind you the views are exceptional and make your trip to the building well-worthwhile.


Stroll Along the Beira Lake

During colonial times the Beira Lake with its interconnecting canals was one of the main transport hubs. Today the place is ideal for understanding the "hodgepodge" culture of Colombo. A stroll along the banks will reveal, modern high-rise buildings, located just minutes from vintage streets complete with crumbling old buildings, little alleys home to slum neighbourhoods and a beautiful temple which seems to float on the greenish waters of the lake.


Spend Time at the Colombo Port

The best way to understand Colombo as a port city is to amble around the Colombo Port. Most parts of the harbour are closed to the public, due to security reasons, but the areas accessible are enough to experience and understand the docks as one of South Asia's busiest harbours. Home to the western fleet of the Sri Lanka Navy, the Colombo Port, standing the test of time, will again treat you to the modern and vintage allures of Colombo.