Wednesday, 17 August 2022

Old Republic Building (Colombo Fort)

Old Republic Building, Colombo
Old Republic Building, Colombo (Photo credit: Google Street View)

The old Republic Building (Sinhala: කොළඹ ජනරජ ගොඩනැගිල්ල) is situated at No. 7, Janadipathi Mawatha in Colombo Fort, Sri Lanka.

Histroy
This building was constructed by demolishing an old Dutch building there in 1860 [during the British Colonial Period (1815-1948)] to house the Legislative Council of Ceylon (Manathunga, 2016). It served the Council until 1929 when the Secretariat Offices and Legislative Council Chambers were moved to the newly built classical-styled building near Galle Face Green [(present Old Parliament Building) Manathunga, 2016]. During this period, the building combined many government offices such as the Audit Office, Treasury, Record and Patent Offices, the Government Archives and the Government Printing Office.

Following independence in 1948, the building became home to a number of government institutions including the Senate of Ceylon, the Prime Minister's Office, the Cabinet Office and the Ministry of External Affairs and Defence (Manathunga, 2016). The building along with the adjacent street was renamed "Republic Building" and "Republic Square" (although not open to the public) when Sri Lanka became a republic in 1972 (Welandawe & Weerasinghe, 2016).

Presently, the building houses the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the southern wing and the Cabinet Office in its northern wing.

The building
Located facing the Gordon Gardens, this building bears architectural features of the Neo-Classical style of the British Period (Welandawe & Weerasinghe, 2016). Major renovations were done to the building in 1948 (Manathunga, 2016).

References
1) Manathunga, S. B., 2016. Pauranika Sthana Saha Smaraka: Kolamba Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). ISBN: 955-9159-39-9. pp.26-27.
2) Welandawe, H., Weerasinghe, J., 2016. Urban Heritage in the Western Region Megapolis Planning Project. p.20.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 7 September 2022

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