June 2019

Landmark Monuments in Colombo
June 2019

Old Parliament

Colombo, the vibrant capital of Sri Lanka, is ever growing. Towering buildings that are home to luxury malls, residences and fine dining, opulent hotels that welcome guests from all over the world, and green parks that provide repose for all - are changing the city's skyline. The grandeur of a spirited past, however, remains unchanged in the landmarks throughout the capital.

Words: Roomini Wijayarathne
Photography: BT Images.

Old Parliament

Taking a nostalgic stroll near Galle Face Green, the Old Parliament - now the Presidential Secretariat - its columns glowing amber in the sun comes into view. Built in Neo-classical style a century ago, it housed colonial Ceylon's Legislative Council, and later, the House of epresentatives that brought self-rule to the country. National State Assembly gathered in the building from 1972 as the Dominion of Ceylon became Republic of Sri Lanka, and six years later, as Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka emerged, the Members of Parliament sat in this building. The increasing number of members required larger premises and the Parliament shifted to the present location at Sri Jayewardenapura Kotte. Yet, the Old Parliament stands as elegantly as it did in the years past, reminiscing the growth of a beautiful nation within its chambers.

National Museum

In the green heart of the city is the National Museum, a labyrinth of galleries holding artefacts from the historical eras marking the pace of the country. Built in 1876 under the patronage of Sir William Gregory, the then Governor of the Island, the National Museum has been hailed as the most attractive building of the British colonial period. True to the claim, the structure has followed an Italianate architecture, and sits amidst an extensive lawn of which the greens contrast beautifully with the pristine white of the building. Taking the visitor back through the flow of time, the National Museum exudes an old world charm that is mysterious and spellbinding.

Independence Square

With manicured lawns, the Independence Square is a memorial that a visitor to Colombo must visit. The Independence Memorial Hall and Independence Museum speak of an impressively vibrant past. Built upon the site where Independence was declared in 1948, the monument takes on the grandeur of a Magul Maduwa in Kandyan architecture. The replica of D S Senanayake, first Prime Minister of Independent Ceylon, stands regally at the façade. The grounds are enchanting in the evening with the water fountains and walkways illuminated. Its surrounding walking paths are a fitness spot and there are many dining options at the Independence Arcade and Racecourse.


An iconic landmark in the city of Colombo, Bandaranaike Memorial International Hall (BMICH) was built to honour the memory of S W R D Bandaranaike, former Prime Minister of Sri Lanka with the assistance of the Government of China. A lush plantation complemented by water fountains and floral gardens add allure to the sprawling edifice. In the making of the octagonal shaped building, materials have been imported; marble, terrazzo and mosaic blend has created a unique architectural masterpiece. Upgraded with a range of modern facilities, the BMICH is a convention centre bespoken of international standards. The BMICH is a monument worth seeing.

Town Hall

The stately Colombo Municipal Council building, famously known as Colombo Town Hall is one of the many prominent landmarks in Colombo. It is located in front of the lush Viharamahadevi Park. A colonial edifice with a gleaming façade, elegant columns and imposing central dome reflecting British architecture was built between 1924 and 1928. The Town Hall is a significant administrative office, and also a landmark for the thousands of visitors that arrive in the capital city. The lawn surrounding the impressive structure is beautifully decorated during various festivals. A walk in the evening enchants the visitor offering views of the glowing edifice and lush gardens.

These monuments that speak volumes of history, preserve the country's heritage in the most beautiful way. On a visit to Colombo, make sure to witness their opulence of a time gone by.