While Sri Lanka’s dynamic commercial capital, Colombo, is developing with conventionally designed office buildings, hotels and malls, the city has some rather unique structures that have become prominent landmarks too.
Dating back to Dutch colonial times, this former hospital is today a popular shopping and dining precinct. Included on tours of Colombo by travel specialists the likes of Aitken Spence Travels, the Dutch Hospital still retains its colonial design with open verandas, pitched roof, columns and a large central courtyard.
Pettah is one of the key sites to explore on a Colombo tour in Sri Lanka; travel agency itineraries often include a visit to the Jami-Ul-Alfar Mosque when here for good reason. Standing out amidst the cityscape, this mosque has a striking red and white striped exterior complete with tall minarets and domes shaped like a pomegranate.
Built above the Beira Lake, this Buddhist temple was designed by Geoffrey Bawa, Sri Lanka’s most famous architect. Featuring three connecting platforms over the water, the Seema Malaka is linked to land via a pontoon bridge and has a fascinating blue-tiled roof and an array of statues of the Buddha.
Nelum Pokuna Theatre
One of Colombo’s relatively new landmarks, this huge theatre has a shape that has been inspired by a lotus pond of ancient Polonnaruwa and in particular, an eight-petal lotus flower. A popular performing arts centre, the venue’s metal and glass façade is an arresting sight indeed.