The National Museum situated in Colombo was Established in 1877, by the then British Governor of Ceylon Sir William Henry Gregory. Housed in a stately neo-classical building the National Museum has over a hundred thousand antiquities and natural history specimens comprising of archeological evidence based on the Pre and Proto historic periods, the Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa and Kandy periods, highlighting aspects such as agriculture, irrigation, trade, language and literature. Some of the archeological highlights to be seen are the rare palm leaf manuscripts, inscriptions, sculptures, arts and crafts, coins and currency, the Royal seat of the last King of Sri Lanka,
King Sri WickramaRajasinghe, his crown, jacket, jewellery and other royal regalia along with a library of rare books and much more. The National Museum offers guided tours, workshops and audio visual programs too. At the rear of the National Museum is the Natural History Museum with its large collection of stuffed birds and animals, bottled snakes, well preserved flowers, butterflies, insects and other natural objects ofinterest.
Built during the British rule,this park was originally named TheVictoria Park, however after thecountry’s independence it wasrenamedViharamahadeviPark,in memory of the mother of greatest Kings. Today the Park is a haven ofgreenery withits majestic trees, colorful blooms and water fountains; known as the oldest, largest andmost colorful park in Colombo, it has a children’s play area, cafeteria and outdoor arena.
The Colombo Fort
The busy Colombo Fort of today was once the military fort of the Portuguese in 1505 and then the Dutch in 1656. The British in 1796 changed thestatus of the fort by demolishing the ramparts and constructing houses and civilian structures, some of these colonial buildings still stand alongside its modern counterparts. Many of the buildings are influenced by Dutch, Portuguese and British Architecture dating back as far as the 1700.
The Dutch hospital, the Dutch house (now the Dutch Museum), the Wolvendaalchurch are some of the Dutcharchitecture to be seen, while the Queens House, The Town Hall, The Old General Post Office, the Old Parliament, The Colombo Museum, the Cargills and Millers buildings and The Grand Oriental Hotel are examples of British Architecture.
Independence Memorial Hall
Independence Commemoration Hall located on Independence Square (formally Torrington Square) in Cinnamon Gardens, is a national monument in Sri Lanka. This was built long after independence was gained from the British rule on February 4, 1948.
The structure is made of concrete, and bear columns similar to what is found in ancient Sri Lankan architecture and it was designed to resemble a Kandyan audience hall. The rows of stone lions that guard this great monument are a unique feature of this Commemoration Hall. This is also an impressive
piece of art that clearly signifies the ancient architecture and the elaborated stone carvings and painting found at the memorial hall are simply breathtaking.
Other than a momentum it is commonly used as a place to conduct annual national day celebrations and other significant national celebrations and cultural activities that mark national unity. Currently Independence Square and its surroundings is considered to be one of the most prestigious locations in Colombo are to be converted into an exclusive for cultural activities, recreation and academic and research excellence.
This remarkable site in Colombo has become a major tourist attraction due to its historical significance and extraordinary work of architecture. It is one of the significant heritage sites of the city that you must visit.
Hindu Kovils (Temples)
Colombo has several Hindu Kovils with colourfulornate statues and shrines, the more popularones being the Old and New KathiresanKovilsin Pettah, the Sri Kailawasanthar SwamiDevasthanam in Fort, Sri BalaSelvaVinayagarMoorthyKovil at Captain\’s Gardens and theKathiseranKovil on Galle Road
There are several old churches dating back to the colonial period, in Colombo the more popular of them being the 1historicSt Peter’s Church in the Colombo Fort, which was used as a governor’s residence during the Dutch period and later a Garrison church under the British. The others being the Wolfendhal church built by theDutch in 1757, the St. Anthony’s Church Kochikade established in 1834 and the St Lucia’s Cathedral in Kotahena, built in 1873, which is the oldest and largest parish cathedral in Sri Lanka