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Updated by Lucie Aurore on Nov 26, 2015
Lucie Aurore Lucie Aurore
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Cultural Sites to be Visited Around Colombo – Ancient City and Modern Metropolis

Colombo is steeped in historic significance. The ancient city now a bustling hub caught the interest of the British and Portuguese who have left their mark in many facets which are now iconic landmarks.


Colombo Dutch House Museum

The Colombo Dutch Museum is housed within a lovely colonial mansion that was the official residence of Dutch - Count August Van Ranzo. The building is a treasured icon of the Dutch era in Colombo and has been lovingly restored to its former glory. Within you will find typical Dutch architecture, open courtyards and a fine collection of ceramics and period furniture. The museum is located on Prince Street in Pettah. It is open to the public daily.


Colombo Fort and Harbour

Of all Colombo things to do, a visit to the Fort area is a must. The fort was built and established by the Portuguese but was eventually invaded by the Dutch who further developed it. The Fort was built around the Colombo Harbour as a defence against invading nations.

The Colombo Harbour too has been in operation for centuries – from around the 16th century - and was a trading post for Greeks, Arabs and Egyptians. The Dutch who invaded the country took over the Fort in 1658. They subsequently developed the Beira Lake which too is an iconic landmark that one should visit in Colombo.

In 1796 the British invaded and took over the Colombo Fort and added more detail to the city. As such, visiting the port and fort will prove to be quite a cultural treat having being influenced by the Portuguese, Dutch and British.


Mt Lavinia Beach

Since the 19th century this gorgeous stretch of beach has enticed sailors and tourists. The historic stretch of beach is graced by a few colonial buildings as well as iconic hotels that boast a history of over 200 years, such as the colonial Mount Lavinia Hotel.


Colombo Lighthouse

The Colombo Lighthouse started out as just a clock tower in 1860. The light was later added; in 1865. Interestingly the original clock was made by the same manufactures of the Big Ben in London; this was however replaced in 1913. You will find the clock tower at the juncture of Chatham Street and Janadhipathi Mawatha.


Independence Square

This is one of Sri Lanka's national monuments. It was built in commemoration of the country gaining independence from the British in 1948. The Commemoration Hall was built to resemble an ancient Kandyan meeting hall. The columns depict ancient architectural designs while magnificent stone lions guard the entrance to the hall. Definitely a must visit for culture buffs and for a taste of ancient local traditions.


Galle Face Green

This is Colombo's largest open space. The expansive green that sits beside the Indian Ocean is a breezy leisure spot that stretches an extent of 1.5 kms. Initially Galle Face Green was used for horse racing and as a golf course; it is flanked by another one of Colombo's colonial hotels.