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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Headline for 11 must-visit places in Colombo – Where to go in Colombo
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11 must-visit places in Colombo – Where to go in Colombo

Sri Lanka's commercial capital, Colombo is undeniably one of the busiest places on the island. Here are 11 places that you should check to understand the diversity of attractions the city has to offer.

1

Independence Square

Located in Cinnamon gardens, Independence square was built to commemorate Sri Lanka gaining independence from the British in 1948. The architecture of the hall is inspired by a traditional Kandyan audience hall and it is considered to be one of the most prestigious places in the island.

2

National Museum

Built by a British governor named Sir William Henry Gregory, the National Museum is housed in a building that has a colonial Italian architecture. It was the first museum to be established in Sri Lanka and showcases some of the countries' oldest artefacts and antiques.

3

Colombo Fort

Colombo Fort is Colombo's busiest city as it is the hub that connects the entire island. The harbour, the island's main railway station and bus depot where you can catch a train or bus to almost every city in the country and a large number of commercial properties are some things that you'll see as you explore Colombo Fort.

4

Colombo Lighthouse

The Colombo Lighthouse was originally built in 1860 to operate as a clock tower. In 1865 a lantern was added to the top of the building to convert it into a lighthouse. Located at the junction of Janadhipathi Mawatha and Chatham street it operates only as a clock tower in the present day.

5

Kalani Raja Maha Viharaya

Located around 10 kilometres out of the Colombo city limits, The Kalani Raja Maha Viharaya is one the significant and revered temples in the country. The temple was constructed over 2000 years ago and showcases frescos of Lord Buddha preaching to his disciples and in the reclining position.

6

Wolvendaal church

Built-in 1749 by the Dutch during their reign of Sri Lanka, Wolvendaal church is one of the oldest churches in Sri Lanka. The interior of this church is very reminiscent of Dutch architecture with the pews, chairs, lecterns and pulpits all carved out of wood.

7

Gangaramaya Temple

The Gangaramaya temple is one of Colombo's main tourist attractions that you will be taken to if you're sight-seeing the city with the aid of Colombo tour package providers the likes of SoulTrek Sri Lanka. Built over 2,000 years ago the temple is located next to holy Bo-tree on the Beira lake and can be visited via a wooden bridge.

8

Jami-Ul-Alfar Mosque

Located at Second Cross street and often referred to as Red Masjid (mosque), this structure can be easily located when visiting Colombo Fort. The mosque which is painted red and white started construction in 1908 and was constructed over the course of one year.

9

Viharamahadevi Park

Also known as Victoria Park, Viharamadevi park is one of the most vibrant parks in the city that is full of lush green trees and grass lawns. The park is popular among kids because of the playground that provides endless hours of fun. It is also popular among joggers and cyclers who arrive during the morning hours or the evening hours to exercise.

10

Galle Face Green

Located on a stretch of land near the sea opposite some of the most luxurious hotels the city has to offer, Galle Face Green is the largest open area in Colombo. Featuring a 1 ½ kilometre stretch of grass, it is a hangout place for families having picnics, tourists who want to try out the street food Colombo has to offer and kids flying kites.

11

Dehiwala Zoo

Located on the outskirts of Colombo and built in 1936, the Dehiwala zoo is the oldest zoological gardens across all of Asia. Constructed on an area of approximately 10 hectares, the zoo showcases a wide variety of fish, reptiles and nocturnal animals.

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