Buddhism and Sri Lanka

According to Sri Lankan chronicles, Buddhism was introduced to Sri Lanka in the 3rd century B.C. by Arhant Mahinda, during the reign of King Devanampiya Tissa.

Sri Lankan Inscriptions

The earliest trace of epigraphy in South Asia is said to be found in Sri Lanka. A piece of pottery, dated to circa the 4th century B.C. has been discovered from the Anuradhapura citadel.

Architecture of Sri Lanka

The architecture of Sri lanka has a long history and shows diversed forms and styles, mainly infuenced by their religions and traditional beliefs.

Sri Lankan Antiquities

Inherited from the past, Sri Lanka has a large number of antiques with cultural and historical significance which reflects the glory of past era.

Visit Sri Lanka

Located in the northern waters of the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka is an island blessed with a large number of attractons which has made the country an ideal destination for the tourism.

Friday, 30 September 2022

Kantale Stone Seat Inscription of Nissankamalla

Kantale Stone Seat Inscription of Nissankamalla
The Kantale Stone Seat Inscription of King Nissankamalla (Sinhala: අනුරාධපුර කෞතුකාගාරයේ නිශ්ශංකමල්ල රජුගේ කන්තලේ ගල් ආසන ලිපිය) is presently on the display at the Anuradhapura Archaeological Museum, Sri Lanka.

The seat
The stone seat was discovered in 1921 in Kantale village in Trincomalee District and later brought to the present location for conservation (Wikramasinghe, 1928). The seat has a moulded base 3 ft. in height surmounted by a slab measuring 3 ft. 5.5 in. square (Ranawella, 2007). The inscription has been engraved on the upper surface of it and the writing has been commenced at the bottom left corner of the seat. The writing then flows rightwards between ruled lines on all four sides until a small square is left at the centre of the surface.

Content
The script and the language of the inscription are Sinhala of the second half of the 12th century A.D. and scholars have dated this record to the reign of King Nissankamalla [(1187-1196 A.D.) Ranawella, 2007; Wikramasinghe, 1928]. It contains, like those of the other stone seat inscriptions of him, a repetition of some of Nissankamalla's charitable acts and military achievements (Ranawella, 2007; Wikramasinghe, 1928). The record reveals that it was the seat on which Nissankamalla sat to witness various diversions such as alms-giving, dancing, singing etc. in the Parvati alms hall erected at the king's request in Caturveda Brahmanapura after his return from the Indian campaign (Ranawella, 2007). The Parvati alms hall mentioned here was probably an alms hall established in honour or memory either of Nissankamalla's mother Parvati Mahadevi or of Her Highness Parvati mentioned in the Hetadage Vestibule Wall Inscription (Wikramasinghe, 1928). 

References
1) Ranawella, S., 2007. Inscription of Ceylon. Volume VI. Department of Archaeology. ISBN: 978-955-91-59-61-2. pp.114-117.
2) Wikramasinghe, D. M. D. Z., 1928. Epigraphia Zeylanica: Being lithic and other inscriptions of Ceylon Vol II: London. Published for the government of Ceylon by Humphrey Milford, pp.283-290.

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This page was last updated on 30 September 2022

Thursday, 29 September 2022

Rambukkana Railway Station

Rambukkana Railway Station
Rambukkana Railway Station (Sinhala: රඹුක්කන දුම්රිය ස්ථානය; Tamil: ரம்புக்கனை புகையிரத நிலையம்) is a railway station on the Mail Line situated in Kegalle District, Sri Lanka. It is the one and the only station in the Kegalle District

Located 88m above sea level, the station is the start of the steep climb on the hill country rail line. It has a typical British period (1815-1948) rail station layout bearing British architectural features (De Silva & Chandrasekara, 2009).

Attribution
1) Rambukkana Railway Station by Asith chamidu is licensed under the CC BY-SA 4.0

References
1) De Silva, N.; Chandrasekara, D.P., 2009. Heritage Buildings of Sri Lanka. Colombo: The National Trust Sri Lanka, ISBN: 978-955-0093-01-4.  p.179.

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This page was last updated on 29 September 2022

Wednesday, 28 September 2022

Whist Bungalow

Whist Bungalow or Pradeepa Hall (Sinhala: විස්ට් බංගලාව) is a 19th-century mansion located in Modara (Mutwal) in Colombo District, Sri Lanka.

History
This bungalow is said to have been built in 1804 by Henry Augustus Marshall (1776-1841), a British colonial administrator in British Ceylon for holding "whist parties" on Sunday evenings (De Silva & Chandrasekara, 2009; Manathunga, 2016). The next owner, Sir Richard Morgan (1821-1876) who was the Acting Chief Justice of Ceylon in 1874 improved the property and added a garden to it (De Silva & Chandrasekara, 2009). The ownership of the bungalow then passed among the hands of a few elite families including barrister Louis Pieris and V.A. Sugathadasa (Manathunga, 2016). 

The property was used as a Police house and a tea store until it was taken over by the government and refurbished by the Urban Development Authority in 1980 (Manathunga, 2016). It was turned into a venue for public functions by Prime Minister R. Premadasa in 1987 (Manathunga, 2016). The bungalow is presently used as a reception hall for weddings.

The bungalow
The single-storey bungalow is modelled in the Neoclassical style. The walls are thick (450 mm) and the grand porch with massive circular columns, decorative arches, the gable roof, and collonaded verandas display British architectural features (De Silva & Chandrasekara, 2009). 

References
1) De Silva, N.; Chandrasekara, D.P., 2009. Heritage Buildings of Sri Lanka. Colombo: The National Trust Sri Lanka, ISBN: 978-955-0093-01-4.  p.153.
2) Manathunga, S. B., 2016. Pauranika Sthana Saha Smaraka: Kolamba Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). ISBN: 955-9159-39-9. pp.83-84.

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This page was last updated on 28 September 2022

Tuesday, 27 September 2022

Old Parliament Building, Colombo

Old Parliament Building
The Old Parliament Building (Sinhala: කොළඹ පැරණි පාර්ලිමේන්තු ගොඩනැගිල්ල; Tamil: பழைய நாடாளுமன்றக் கட்டடம், கொழும்பு) is located at No. 125 on Lotus Road in Colombo Fort, Sri Lanka.

Constructed in 1930, the building was the seat of the Legislative Council of Ceylon before it became the Parliament of Sri Lanka (Welandawe & Weerasinghe, 2016). In 1967, the parliament was moved to its present location at Sri Jayawardanapura Kotte turning the building into the Presidential Secretariat and offices of the Ministry of Finance (Welandawe & Weerasinghe, 2016).

The building bears architectural features of the Palladian style (Welandawe & Weerasinghe, 2016).

Attribution
1) WerangaR Old Parliament CMB by weranga rajapaksha is licensed under the CC BY-SA 2.0

References
1) Welandawe, H., Weerasinghe, J., 2016. Urban Heritage in the Western Region Megapolis Planning Project. p.57.

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This page was last updated on 2 October 2022

Monday, 26 September 2022

St. Lucia's Cathedral, Kotahena

St. Lucia's Cathedral
St. Lucia's Cathedral (Sinhala: කොටහේන ශාන්ත ලුසියා ආසන දෙව්මැදුර; Tamil: புனித லூசியா பேராலயம்) is a Roman Catholic church situated at No. 119, Bon Jean Rd in Kotahena in Colombo District, Sri Lanka. Named after the Virgin and Martyr Saint Lucy,  the cathedral is considered the oldest and largest parish cathedral in the country (Welandawe & Weerasinghe, 2016). It is also the seat of the Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Colombo. 

History
The church that is believed to have been established in the early 1760s in a thatched hut was granted a plot of land of 10 acres in Kotahena in 1779 by the Dutch who had control of several coastal regions in Sri Lanka during the period 1658-1796 (De Silva & Chandrasekara, 2009; Manathunga, 2016; Rajapakshe et al., 2018). A church building of brick and mortar was erected on this land in 1782 by the priests, Nicholas Rodriguez and Cosmo Antonio (De Silva & Chandrasekara, 2009; Rajapakshe et al., 2018; Welandawe & Weerasinghe, 2016).

The British expelled the Dutch in 1796 and annexed the entire island to the British empire in 1815. In 1838, Vincent Rozairo Diaz became the first vicar and the church was upgraded to cathedral status (De Silva & Chandrasekara, 2009). The foundation stone for the new cathedral was laid in 1852 and the church building was constructed following Italian architecture by Walkers Co. according to the plan designed by H.N. Thomlan and J.C. Hammons under the guidance of Bishop Hillarion Sillanai and Fr. Stanislaus Tabarrani (De Silva & Chandrasekara, 2009; Manathunga, 2016; Rajapakshe et al., 2018). The first service of the new church was held in 1887 (Manathunga, 2016).

The St. Benedict's College and Good Shepherd Convent were founded in 1856 and 1869 respectively as Catholic schools affiliated with the church (Manathunga, 2016).

Tombstones
A tombstone dated 5 July 1905 is found within the church premises  (Lewis, 1913).

The church building
The two-storeyed church has a 50 m high single-storey main hall with a high roof (De Silva & Chandrasekara, 2009). The decorative Corinthian columns and the large dome supported on four arches have given a majestic appearance to the building. Showing characteristics of Gothic architecture, the church is said to be inspired by Saint Peter's Cathedral in Rome (De Silva & Chandrasekara, 2009).

The church building underwent renovations in 1856-1869, 1881-1909, and 1937 (Rajapakshe et al., 2018). 

A protected site
The St. Lucia's Cathedral in Kotahena Grama Niladhari Division in Colombo Divisional Secretariat Division is an archaeological protected monument, declared by a government Gazette notification published on 18 June 1999.

Attribution

References
1) De Silva, N.; Chandrasekara, D.P., 2009. Heritage Buildings of Sri Lanka. Colombo: The National Trust Sri Lanka, ISBN: 978-955-0093-01-4.  p.28.
2) Lewis, J. P., 1913. List of inscriptions on tombstones and monuments in Ceylon, of historical or local interest with an obituary of persons uncommemorated: Colombo. p.135.
3) Manathunga, S. B., 2016. Pauranika Sthana Saha Smaraka: Kolamba Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). ISBN: 955-9159-39-9. pp.80-81.
4) Rajapakshe, S.; Bandara, T. M. C.; Vanninayake, R. M. B. T. A. B. (Editors), 2018. Puravidya Sthana Namavaliya: Kolamba Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Vol. I. Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). ISBN: 978-955-7457-19-2. p.39.
5) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 1085. 18 June 1999.
6) Welandawe, H., Weerasinghe, J., 2016. Urban Heritage in the Western Region Megapolis Planning Project. p.107.

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This page was last updated on 26 September 2022

Sunday, 25 September 2022

National Saving Bank (Colombo Fort)

National Saving Bank Colombo
Colombo National Saving Bank Building (Photo credit: Google Street View)

National Saving Bank Building is located at No. 70 on Chatham Street in Colombo Fort, Sri Lanka.

The building, presently occupied by the National Saving Bank (NSB), is believed to have been built during the British colonial period [(1815-1948) Welandawe & Weerasinghe, 2016]. It bears features of the Palladian architectural style (Welandawe & Weerasinghe, 2016).

References
1) Welandawe, H., Weerasinghe, J., 2016. Urban Heritage in the Western Region Megapolis Planning Project. p.51.

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This page was last updated on 25 September 2022

Saturday, 24 September 2022

Swarts House Site (Colombo Fort)

Swarts House Site Colombo Fort
Swarts House Site (Photo credit: Google Street View)

The Swarts House Site is located at No. 17 on Mudalige Mawatha in Colombo Fort, Sri Lanka.

Histroy
The present building at the site stands on the spot of a Dutch house that once belonged to Andries Swarts, a lieutenant in the service of the Dutch United East India Company [(VOC) Anthonisz, 1907; Denham, 1912]. He was tortured and put to death on 12 March 1729 because he had given offence to Petrus Vuyst, an infamous Dutch Governor of Ceylon who served the office from 1726 to 1729 (Anthonisz, 1907; Denham, 1912). Not content with killing Swartz, Vuyst razed his house to the ground and erected a pillar on the spot with an inscription warning others of Swarts's fate (Anthonisz, 1907; Denham, 1912).

In the year 1729 is this Memorial raised to the accursed memory of the executed, traitor Andries Swarts on the site of his demolished dwelling-house to be to the righteous a token of incessant thankfulness to God for His Providence, and to the wicked a perpetual warning against evil.
Citation: Anthonisz, 1907. p.108.

The tyrannical and murderous rule of Vuyst ended when he was removed from the position in 1729 (Anthonisz, 1907). Stephanus Versluys (1729-1732) who replaced Vuyst provided relief to the families of those who had been killed and returned the property expropriated from them. Swarts’ relatives were also given the site of the levelled building and they rebuilt the house and placed above the entrance an inscription which is still on the front wall of the building (Denham, 1912).

Text: DOOR GEWELT GEVELT DOOR’T REGT HERSTELT
Translation: Destroyed by might, restored by right
Citation: Anthonisz, 1907. p.107.

As is revealed by 20th-century literature this building may have been later used as the offices of the Lee Hedges and Loan, an old established mercantile and agency house (Welandawe & Weerasinghe, 2016).

The building
The two-storeyed terracotta building has been built in the Neoclassical tradition (Welandawe & Weerasinghe, 2016). However, its original appearance has changed due to subsequent renovations.

References
1) Anthonisz, R.G., 1907. Report on the Dutch records in the Government Archives at Colombo. HC Cottle, Government Printer. pp.107-109.
2) Denham, E.B., 1912. Ceylon at the Census of 1911. HC Cottle, government printer, Ceylon. pp.154-155.
3) Welandawe, H., Weerasinghe, J., 2016. Urban Heritage in the Western Region Megapolis Planning Project. p.45.

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This page was last updated on 24 September 2022

Friday, 23 September 2022

State Bank of India (Colombo Fort)

State Bank of India Building
State Bank of India Building (Photo credit: Google Street View)

State Bank of India Building is located at No. 25 on Mudalige Mawatha in Colombo Fort, Sri Lanka.

The building, presently occupied by the State Bank of India, is believed to be the Bank of Madras during the early part of the 20th century (Welandawe & Weerasinghe, 2016). Constructed during the British colonial period (1815-1948), the building bears features of the Neo-Classical architectural style (Welandawe & Weerasinghe, 2016).

References
1) Welandawe, H., Weerasinghe, J., 2016. Urban Heritage in the Western Region Megapolis Planning Project. p.44.

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This page was last updated on 23 September 2022

Thursday, 22 September 2022

YMBA Building (Colombo Fort)

Colombo YMBA Building
Colombo YMBA Building (Photo credit: Google Street View)

YMBA Building is located at No. 44/9 on Sir Baron Jayathilake Mawatha in Colombo Fort, Sri Lanka.

The YMBA (Young Men's Buddhist Association) was established in 1898 as one of the key Buddhist movements in the country to promote the teachings of the Buddha Dhamma to the youth. Its headquarter was constructed at the present site in Colombo Fort in 1958 (Welandawe & Weerasinghe, 2016).

The building bears features of the European Architecture of the Fort in the mid-20th century (Welandawe & Weerasinghe, 2016). Designed by Oliver Weerasinghe and H. j. Billimoria, the construction of the building was completed by Justin Samarasekara and  Nevil Gunaratne (Welandawe & Weerasinghe, 2016).

References
1) Welandawe, H., Weerasinghe, J., 2016. Urban Heritage in the Western Region Megapolis Planning Project. p.40.

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This page was last updated on 22 September 2022

Wednesday, 21 September 2022

Dekinda Forest Reserve

Dekind Forest Reserve is a hill rainforest located near Balana town in Kandy District, Sri Lanka. Extending in an area of 40 ha, the forest is bordered by tea plantations and home gardens (Wijesundara & Wijesundara, 2014). Since colonial times the forest has been maintained as a watershed area for surrounding commercial plantations including tea and paddy (Wijesundara & Wijesundara, 2014).

The mean annual rainfall in the forest area is about 2,000 mm and the mean annual temperature is about 25 °C (Wijesundara & Wijesundara, 2014). Despite its small size, the forest reserve is home to a large number of bird species, numbering over 90 (Wijesundara & Wijesundara, 2012).

References
1) Wijesundara, C.; Wijesundara, M., 2012. Avifaunal diversity of Dekinda Forest Reserve, Balana, Sri Lanka. In Proceedings of International Forestry and Environment Symposium (Vol. 17). p.4.
2) Wijesundara, C.; Wijesundara, M., 2014. Bird diversity of Dekinda forest reserve, Balana, Sri Lanka: implications for conservation. Ceylon Journal of Science (Biological Sciences), 43(1). pp.137-146.

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This page was last updated on 21 September 2022

Tuesday, 20 September 2022

Walker Sons Building (Colombo Fort)

Colombo Walker Sons Building
Colombo Walker Sons Building (Photo credit: Google Street View)

Walker Sons & Co Ltd Building is located at No. 63 on Church Street in Colombo Fort, Sri Lanka.

The building is believed to have been built during the British colonial period (1815-1948). As mentioned on the front wall of the building, the Walker Sons & Company has been established in 1854. The building bears features of the Neo-Classical architectural style (Welandawe & Weerasinghe, 2016).

References
1) Welandawe, H., Weerasinghe, J., 2016. Urban Heritage in the Western Region Megapolis Planning Project. p.36.

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This page was last updated on 20 September 2022

Monday, 19 September 2022

HSBC Building (Colombo Fort)

Colombo HSBC Building
Colombo HSBC Building (Photo credit: Google Street View)

HSBC Building is located at No. 24 on Sir Baron Jayathilake Mawatha, in Colombo Fort, Sri Lanka.

The building is the head office of HSBC Bank. Constructed during the British colonial period (1815-1948), the building bears features of the Neo-Classical architectural style (Welandawe & Weerasinghe, 2016).

References
1) Welandawe, H., Weerasinghe, J., 2016. Urban Heritage in the Western Region Megapolis Planning Project. p.28.

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This page was last updated on 19 September 2022

Sunday, 18 September 2022

ITC One Colombo

ITC One Colombo
The ITC One Colombo is an ongoing mixed-use development project comprising two skyscrapers connected by a sky-bridge situated by Galle Face Green and Beira Lake in Colombo City, Sri Lanka. It is the first project in Sri Lanka by WelcomHotels Lanka Ltd., a wholly-owned subsidiary of ITC Ltd., India. 

The estimated cost of the total project is around $300-400 million. It includes a 49-storey residential tower (224 m) and a 28-storey hotel tower (139-m), connected by a 54 m long sky-bridge sitting on the 19th and 20th levels (100 m above the ground). The bridge has an exterior pool deck on its upper level and a lounge/dining area on the lower level. 

A four-storey podium surrounds the towers, providing space for the lobby, retail, office, and special events while four basement levels are dedicated for parking, MEP and back-of-the-house functions.


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This page was last updated on 18 September 2022

Saturday, 17 September 2022

Colombo City Centre

Colombo City Centre
The Colombo City Centre or CCC (Sinhala: කලම්බු සිටි සෙන්ටර්) is a mixed-use development project comprising a 47-storey skyscraper situated by Beira Lake in Colombo City, Sri Lanka.

The project began as a USD 180 million joint venture between the local retailer, Abans, and Singapore-based Next Story Group but by 2021 Abans Group gained its full ownership. The project comprises a total of 192 luxury apartments of 2 BR, 3 BR and Penthouses, an international standard shopping mall and an international hotel.

CCC shopping mall
Considered the country’s first international mall, the Colombo City Centre shopping mall was opened on 19 September 2018. It consists of a large shopping arcade infused with a plethora of brands both local and international, supermarkets, games and recreational activities.

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This page was last updated on 17 September 2022

Friday, 16 September 2022

Yan Oya

Yan Oya (Sinhala: යාන් ඔය) is a seasonal low-order river streaming through the northeastern region of Sri Lanka. Approximately 142 km long, it is the 5th longest river in the country (Seenithamby & Nandalal, 2021). It originates in the hilly areas of Dambulla and Sigiriya (Gunarathna et al., 2016).

River basin
The Yan Oya river basin, positioned entirely in the dry zone of the country, has a catchment area of about 1,538 km2 (Gunarathna et al., 2016). The catchment area receives approximately 2,371 million cubic metres of precipitation per year and approximately 17% of the water reaches the sea (Seenithamby & Nandalal, 2021). The basin is estimated to have a total of 1,500 small and large tanks, mostly in several cascades (Seenithamby & Nandalal, 2021).

See also

References
1) Gunarathna, M.H.J.P., Kumari, M.K.N., Nirmanee, K.G.S. and Jayasinghe, G.Y., 2016. Spatial and seasonal water quality variation of Yan Oya in tropical Sri Lanka. International Journal of Applied and Natural Sciences (IJANS) ISSN(P): 2319-4014; ISSN(E): 2319-4022 Vol. 5, Issue 4. pp.45-56
2) Seenithamby, M. and Nandalal, K.D.W., 2021. Water resource development planning around village cascades: piloting of a scientific methodology in Yan Oya river basin of Sri Lanka. Water Policy, 23(4), pp.946-969.

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This page was last updated on 16 September 2022

Thursday, 15 September 2022

Ataviragollewa Pillar Inscription

Ataviragollewa Pillar Inscription
Ataviragollewa Pillar Inscription (Photo credit: Google Street View)

The Ataviragollewa Pillar Inscription (Sinhala: ඇටවීරගොල්ලෑව ටැම් ලිපිය) is a 10th-century pillar inscription situated in Ataviragollewa village in Anuradhapura District, Sri Lanka (Muller, 1883). It lies on the wayside of Medawachchiya-Kebitigollewa road about 11 km distance from Medawachchiya town. 

The pillar
The inscription has been engraved on all four sides of a pillar measuring 5 ft. 6 inches by 11 inches square (Wikramasinghe, 1928). Due to a splitting of the stone at the top, several lines of the 1st and 4th sides are obliterated (Wikramasinghe, 1928). The 1st side, as of today, contains 18 lines, the 2nd side has 28 lines while the 3rd and 4th have 25 and 17 lines respectively (Wikramasinghe, 1928). The figure of the sun is found at the bottom part of the 3rd side and the figures of a crow, a dog, a Buddhist monk's fan (Vatapatha), and a sickle are found on the 4th side (Wikramasinghe, 1928).
 
Scholars have dated this record to the reign of King Dappula IV [(924-935 A.D.) Ranawella, 2004; Wikramasinghe, 1928]. 

Content
The inscription is dated in the 10th regnal year of a king styled Abha Salamevan and as is revealed by the record, his father was king Abha Sirisangbo who conquered the Pandya country (India) in his 9th regnal year (Ranawella, 2004). It is well established that King Sirisangbo who conquered the Pandya country was King Sena II (853-887 A.D.) and Dappula IV, one of three sons of him borne the throne name of Abha Salamevan (Ranawella, 2004). Also, the names of the officials who were instrumental in promulgating this edict confirm beyond doubt that the king who is mentioned in the inscription is Dappula IV (Ranawella, 2004).

The inscription contains a decree granting certain immunities granted on a village named Velnariyegama situated in Mirisibima region and owned by Sirisangbo-rad Pirivena, attached to a monastery named Dena Vehera (Ranawella, 2005). According to chronicles, there was a Pirivena named Sirisangbo-rad attached to Jetavana Viharaya (ancient Dena Vehera) at Anuradhapura built by King Aggabodhi IV [(667-683 A.D.) Ranawella, 2005].

References
1) Muller, E., 1883. Ancient Inscriptions in Ceylon. London. pp.56,114.
2) Ranawella G.S., 2004. Inscription of Ceylon. Volume V, Part II. Department of Archaeology. pp.93-98
3) Wikramasinghe, D. M. D. Z., 1928. Epigraphia Zeylanica: Being lithic and other inscriptions of Ceylon Vol II: London. Published for the government of Ceylon by Humphrey Milford, pp.44-49.

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This page was last updated on 15 September 2022

Wednesday, 14 September 2022

Olde Empire Hotel (Kandy)

Kandy Olde Empire Hotel
The Olde Empire Hotel is a star-class heritage hotel situated next to Queens' Hotel in Kandy Ancient City, Sri Lanka.

History
The hotel has been owned by Fernando family since 27 December 1898. Arnold Wright's 1907 published book "Twentieth century impressions of Ceylon: its history, people, commerce, industries, and resources" mentions the proprietor of Kandy Empire Hotel as Nichol Francis Fernando (Wright, 1999). It is said that the hotel building was originally a coffee factory before it was converted into a hotel. 

The hotel was used as a drinking bar/pub but was converted by the present owners into a guest house/budget hotel in the 1970s. 

The hotel
The two-storied hotel consists of 14 bedrooms (No.13 missing) upstairs, with a verandah overlooking Kandy Lake. The upstairs floor is of wooden planks on timber beams.

A protected monument
The two-storey Olde Empire Hotel building at No. 21 on Temple Street in the Kandy Divisional Secretary’s Division is an archaeological protected monument, declared by a government gazette notification published on 8 July 2005.

Attribution

References
1) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. no: 1401. 8 July 2005.
2) Wright, A. ed., 1999. Twentieth Century Impressions of Ceylon: Its History, People, Commerce, Industries, and Resources (first published in 1907). Asian Educational Services. pp.692-695.

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This page was last updated on 14 September 2022

Tuesday, 13 September 2022

St. Sylvester's College

St. Sylvester's College (Sinhala: මහනුවර ශාන්ත සිල්වෙස්තර විද්‍යාලය) is a government boys' school situated in Kandy, Sri Lanka.

History
The school was established on 1 November 1940 as a Catholic school (Abeyawardana, 2004). The first principal was Fr. Robert M. Perera and the first intake was 250 students with a staff of 12 (Abeyawardana, 2004). Perera served 9 years from 1940 to 1949 and he was followed by D.M.G. Seneviratna who later became the Director of Education in Sri Lanka (Abeyawardana, 2004).

In 1961, the school was taken over by the government.

Facilities
At present, the school has common facilities such as classrooms, laboratories, libraries, a playground etc. The main administrative building is considered a heritage structure and presently, it has been designated as an archaeological protected monument by the government gazette notification published on 8 July 2005.

Classes are conducted for boys students from grade 1 to grade 13. 

References
1) Abeyawardana, H.A.P., 2004. Heritage of Kandurata: Major natural, cultural and historic sites. Colombo: The Central Bank of Sri Lanka. p.53.
2) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. no: 1401. 8 July 2005.

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This page was last updated on 13 September 2022

Monday, 12 September 2022

Bank of Ceylon Building (Colombo Fort)

Colombo Bank of Ceylon Building
Colombo Bank of Ceylon Building (Photo credit: Google Street View)

BOC Building is located at No. 48 on Bristol Street in Colombo Fort, Sri Lanka.

The building was used as the Chamber of Commerce in the early 20th century, while the upper floor was reserved for tea sales (Welandawe & Weerasinghe, 2016). It was also used by Messageries Maritimes, a French merchant shipping company that carried on a regular mail service between France, India, China and Australia (Welandawe & Weerasinghe, 2016).

Attribution
1) Munsoor building by Jorge Láscar is licensed under CC BY 2.0
 
References
1) Welandawe, H., Weerasinghe, J., 2016. Urban Heritage in the Western Region Megapolis Planning Project. p.48.

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This page was last updated on 12 September 2022

Sunday, 11 September 2022

Good Shepherd Convent (Colombo)

Good Shepherd Convent (Sinhala: යහපත් එඬේරාගේ කන්‍යාරාමය, කොළඹ) a semi-government Catholic girls' school located at No. 6 on Bonjean Rd in Kotahena in Colombo District, Sri Lanka.

History
Established on 1 May 1869, the school began functioning with just 8 students and Sister Mary of the Seven Dolours Joly was the first principal (Welandawe & Weerasinghe, 2016). The site of the school chapel was blessed on 21 June 1869 and its construction works were left in the hands of Father Stanislaus Tabarrani (Welandawe & Weerasinghe, 2016).

Facilities
At present, the school has common facilities such as classrooms, an auditorium, libraries, ICT and science laboratories, basketball and netball courts, and gyms. Classes are conducted for girl students from grade 1 to grade 13

References
1) Welandawe, H., Weerasinghe, J., 2016. Urban Heritage in the Western Region Megapolis Planning Project. p.108.
 
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This page was last updated on 11 September 2022

Saturday, 10 September 2022

St. Peter's Church (Colombo)

Colombo St. Peter's Church
St. Peter's Church (Sinhala: කොළඹ ශාන්ත පීතර දේවස්ථානය) is situated at No. 32, Church Rd in Colombo Fort, Sri Lanka. It was originally part (the banquet hall) of the Dutch Governor's residence and was first used for divine service in 1804 (Welandawe & Weerasinghe, 2016). Consecrated in 1821, this church is considered one of the oldest continuously functioning churches in the Colombo area.

History
The 1772 painting by Carel Frederik Reimer in the Rijks Museum
The original building at this site, constructed in 1680, was used as the official residence of the Dutch Governor (Dutch Ceylon: 1658-1796) as well as a venue for the council meetings of Dutch rulers (De Silva & Chandrasekara, 2009; Lewis, 1913; Manathunga, 2016; Rajapakshe et al., 2018). The 1772 painting by Carel Frederik Reimer in the Rijks Museum, Amsterdam is supposed to show the interior when it served this purpose (Lewis, 1913). During the British Period (British Ceylon: 1796-1948) it became the residence of Governor Frederick North (1798-1805) for the first few years of his tenure (Lewis, 1913; Manathunga, 2016; Rajapakshe et al., 2018).

In 1804, the building was refurbished and converted into a church named English Garrison Church of St. Peter (Manathunga, 2016; Rajapakshe et al., 2018). Until then, the British conducted their religious activities at the nearby Dutch Wolvendaal Church (Manathunga, 2016; Rajapakshe et al., 2018). The church was not consecrated until 22 May 1821, when Thomas Fanshawe Middleton, the Bishop of Culcutta performed the ceremony (Lewis, 1916). After that, the church was started known as St. Peter's (Lewis, 1913).  Renovations were done to the church in 1832, 1881 and again in 1930 (Manathunga, 2016).

The church building
The interior of the two-storied church building still possesses the old Dutch colonnade reminiscent of its history (Welandawe & Weerasinghe, 2016). However, the facade has been renewed during the British period and the corridor and the portico in front of the church are later additions made by the British (Manathunga, 2016). 

The portico is 11.82 m in length and 7 m in width and along its perimeter are six arched pillars (Rajapakshe et al., 2018). On either side of the portico are two porches measuring 12.87 m in length and 3.6 m in width (Rajapakshe et al., 2018). The hall that can be entered after passing the porches is 30.8 m long and 18.2 m wide and is divided into three sections by two rows of arch pillars (Rajapakshe et al., 2018). Commemorative tablets of deceased Dutch and British elites are found fixed onto the inner walls of the church (Lewis, 1913).

The upper storey of the building has been reserved for a club of seamen (Manathunga, 2016; Rajapakshe et al., 2018).

Attribution
 
References
1) De Silva, N.; Chandrasekara, D.P., 2009. Heritage Buildings of Sri Lanka. Colombo: The National Trust Sri Lanka, ISBN: 978-955-0093-01-4.  p.129.
2) Lewis, J. P., 1913. List of inscriptions on tombstones and monuments in Ceylon, of historical or local interest with an obituary of persons uncommemorated: Colombo. pp.1-27.
3) Manathunga, S. B., 2016. Pauranika Sthana Saha Smaraka: Kolamba Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). ISBN: 955-9159-39-9. pp.20-21.
4) Rajapakshe, S.; Bandara, T. M. C.; Vanninayake, R. M. B. T. A. B. (Editors), 2018. Puravidya Sthana Namavaliya: Kolamba Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Vol. I. Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). ISBN: 978-955-7457-19-2. p.23.
5) Welandawe, H., Weerasinghe, J., 2016. Urban Heritage in the Western Region Megapolis Planning Project. p.31.

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This page was last updated on 10 September 2022

Friday, 9 September 2022

Maradana Technology College

Maradana Technology College
Maradana Technology College (Photo credit: Google Street View)

Maradana College of Technology (Sinhala: මරදාන කාර්මික විද්‍යාලය) is located at No. 557 on Olcott Mawatha in Maradana, Colombo District, Sri Lanka. It is considered the oldest technical college in the country (Tatnall, 2012; Welandawe & Weerasinghe, 2016).

History
The institute was first established in 1893 as Government Technical College and it was housed in a renovated coffee store situated in close proximity to the Ceylon Government Railway Terminal building at Maradana (Manathunga, 2016; Tatnall, 2012; Welandawe & Weerasinghe, 2016). It consisted of a small workshop, laboratory, lecture room and a classroom and the first student enrollment was only 25. The college became the pioneering institution for the study of science as it conducted chemistry, physics and biology classes for school teachers and for medical students prior to the establishment of Ceylon University College in 1921.

In 1906 the name of the institute was changed to Ceylon Technical College (Manathunga, 2016; Tatnall, 2012; Welandawe & Weerasinghe, 2016). In 1908 it started classes for commerce students and progressed over the years to become the centre for management and Business Studies. When Ceylon University College was established in 1921, the science section of the technical college was transferred to form the Department of Science, at the new university college. In 1933 the technical college was reorganised and started preparing candidates for the external degrees in Engineering of the University of London. It continued to hold regular classes for the external degree of the University of London until the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Ceylon commenced in 1950.

In 1953 the Arts and Crafts section of the technical colleges was transferred to a new department known as the Government College of Fine Arts and in 1960, the technician courses were transferred to a new establishment at Katubedda called the Institute of Practical Technology (Tatnall, 2012). This institute became the University of Moratuwa in 1972 (Tatnall, 2012).

College building
Constructed in 1903, the red and white brick-decorated college building bears the architectural features of a Neo-Renaissance building (Manathunga, 2016). A flight of steps shaded by a gable roof provide the access to the building.

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.59-60.
2) Tatnall, A., 2012. Reflections on the History of Computing. Springer. pp.128-129.
3) Welandawe, H., Weerasinghe, J., 2016. Urban Heritage in the Western Region Megapolis Planning Project. p.90.

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This page was last updated on 9 September 2022

Thursday, 8 September 2022

Hulftsdorp Court Complex

Hulftsdorp Court Complex
Hulftsdorp Court Complex (Photo credit: Google Street View)

The Hulftsdorp Court Complex is a large courthouse complex located in Hulftdorp in Colombo District, Sri Lanka, housing various courts of the country's judicial system. The court complex is situated on a short hill known as Hulftsdorp from which it derives its name. The history of this complex runs back to 1805 and to the period of the first Provincial Judge, John Dean in Hulftsdorp [(1815s) Welandawe & Weerasinghe, 2016].

The court complex presently houses a number of High Courts, District Courts, Magistrates Courts and the Colombo Traffic Courts. The old high court building is positioned in the central courtyard of the complex. According to general belief, this building was originally built in 1655 and was the dwelling of the Dutch General Hulft (Manathunga, 2016). British Governor Frederick North (1766–1827) is said to have lived here until 1805 (Manathunga, 2016).

A protected site
The buildings in which the High Court, District Court and the Commercial Court are being held situated in the Hulftsdorp High Court premises in the Grama Niladhari Wasam of Hulftsdorp West and Keselwatta in the Colombo Divisional Secretary’s Division are archaeological protected monuments, declared by a government gazette notification published on 22 July 2011.

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.75-76.
2) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. no: 1716. 22 July 2011. p.512.
3) Welandawe, H., Weerasinghe, J., 2016. Urban Heritage in the Western Region Megapolis Planning Project. pp.82-84.

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This page was last updated on 8 September 2022

Wednesday, 7 September 2022

Gordon Gardens (Colombo)

Gordon Gardens Colombo
Gordon Gardens (Sinhala: ගෝර්ඩන් උද්‍යානය) is a non-public park attached to the President's House in Colombo Fort, Sri Lanka.

History
Tomb of Prince Don Juan Dharmapala
The park was originally an open ground with a cemetery at the time of the Portuguese arrival on the island in 1505 (Manathunga, 2016). St. Lawrence, the first church by the Portuguese was erected on this site (Manathunga, 2016). The body of Prince Don Juan Dharmapala (1550-1597 A.D.) of the Kotte Kingdom who received the support of the Portuguese was buried at the St. Francis Church which was erected on the same site later (Manathunga, 2016). This church was demolished by the Dutch (Dutch Ceylon: 1640-1796) who took the control of Portuguese-held areas of the island in 1640 (Manathunga, 2016). The Dutch built their official VOC Church (Dutch East India Company) on the Portuguese church site but maintained the old cemetery intact for their burials (Manathunga, 2016).

The Banyan tree planted by Lady Ridgeway
The British expelled the Dutch in 1796 and annexed the entire island to the British empire in 1815. The church of the site was removed by the British and they started to use the ground for various purposes. In 1813, the remaining tombstones of the old church were removed to the Wolvendaal Church in Pettah and the ground was used for holding cricket and football matches until 1935 (Manathunga, 2016). It is said that the tomb of Prince Don Juan Dharmapala, which had a Portuguese inscription, was also among the tombstones removed to the Wolvendaal Church in 1813 (Lewis, 1913).

The British Governor, Sir Arthur Gordon converted part of the ground into a park comprising flowers and fountains in honour of Queen Victoria (1837-1901) during her golden jubilee celebrations held in 1887 (Welandawe & Weerasinghe, 2016). On 22 June 1897, a Banyan tree was planted in this garden by Lady Ridgeway in commemoration of the diamond jubilee of the reign of Victoria. The Marble Statue of Victoria which was also erected to mark the diamond jubilee was placed in Gordon Gardens until it was removed from the premises amid fears of bad luck. This statue is presently placed on the site near the back entrance to the Colombo National Museum.

The park was maintained as a public park until 1980 when it was made part of the President's House (Welandawe & Weerasinghe, 2016).

Gordon Gardens Colombo.
References
1) Lewis, J. P., 1913. List of inscriptions on tombstones and monuments in Ceylon, of historical or local interest with an obituary of persons uncommemorated: Colombo. pp.v,102.
2) Manathunga, S. B., 2016. Pauranika Sthana Saha Smaraka: Kolamba Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). ISBN: 955-9159-39-9. pp.12-13. 
3) Welandawe, H., Weerasinghe, J., 2016. Urban Heritage in the Western Region Megapolis Planning Project. p.18.

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This page was last updated on 27 September 2022

Tuesday, 6 September 2022

Hunter Building (Colombo)

Colombo Hunter Building
Colombo Hunter Building (Photo credit: Google Street View)

Hunter Building (Sinhala: කොළඹ හන්ටර් ගොඩනැගිල්ල) is located at No. 130 on Main Street in Pettah, Colombo, Sri Lanka. It is the main showroom of Hunter & Company PLC, a retail company established in 1911 (Welandawe & Weerasinghe, 2016). It is a 4-storied building bearing architectural features of Art Deco (Welandawe & Weerasinghe, 2016). 

References
1) Welandawe, H., Weerasinghe, J., 2016. Urban Heritage in the Western Region Megapolis Planning Project. p.65.

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This page was last updated on 6 September 2022

Monday, 5 September 2022

Colombo Old Kachcheri

Old Colombo Kachcheri Building
The old Colombo Kachcheri Building (Sinhala: කොළඹ පැරණි කච්චේරිය) is located on the present Colombo Divisional Secretariat premises on Dam Street near Pettah Methodist Church in Colombo District, Sri Lanka.

The word Kachcheri (or District Secretariat) is used to denote the principal government department that administrates a district in Sri Lanka. The old Kachcheri building at Colombo is claimed to be a Dutch country house that existed in the 18th century (Welandawe & Weerasinghe, 2016). The building is illustrated in B. van Lier's 1750 painting "De Uytvlught Country House, Colombo" which is presently preserved in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, the national museum of the Netherlands dedicated to Dutch arts and history.

B. van Lier's painting.
See also

References
1) Welandawe, H., Weerasinghe, J., 2016. Urban Heritage in the Western Region Megapolis Planning Project. p.80.

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This page was last updated on 5 September 2022

Sunday, 4 September 2022

Munsoor Building (Colombo)

Munsoor Building
Munsoor Building is located at No. 120 on Main Street in Pettah in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Constructed in the 20th century, the building displays Neoclassical architectural features bearing Art Deco influences (Welandawe & Weerasinghe, 2016). Presently, it houses several businesses including Wimaladharma Brothers, a watch retailer.

Attribution
1) Munsoor building by Jorge Láscar is licensed under CC BY 2.0
 
References
1) Welandawe, H., Weerasinghe, J., 2016. Urban Heritage in the Western Region Megapolis Planning Project. p.64.

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This page was last updated on 4 September 2022

Saturday, 3 September 2022

Grand Oriental Hotel

Grand Oriental Hotel
Grand Oriental Hotel (GOH) (Sinhala: කොළඹ ග්‍රෑන්ඩ් ඔරියන්ටල් හෝටලය) is a star-class colonial hotel situated at No. 2, York Street in Colombo Fort, Sri Lanka. It is considered to be the first modern-style hotel built in Asia (Manathunga, 2016; Rajapakshe et al., 2018; Wright, 1999).

History
Grand Oriental Hotel
The original building on the present hotel site is said to have been constructed in 1832 (Manathunga, 2016; Rajapakshe et al., 2018). It was enlarged in 1875 by Ralph Macdonald & Company following the design of James G. Smither (Manathunga, 2016; Rajapakshe et al., 2018). In 1891, a new section was added to the rear part of the building by Stevenson and Gregson firm going through the design by W. A. Tunstall, a British architect (Manathunga, 2016; Rajapakshe et al., 2018). More renovations were done to the hotel building in 1912 and 1924 (Manathunga, 2016).

In the beginning, GOH was considered one of the most modern hotels in the east comprising a lift, telephone connections, and 154 luxury rooms with electric lights and fans (Welandawe & Weerasinghe, 2016; Wright, 1999). It was the first hotel that could be easily reachable by people disembarking from the port of Colombo (Wright, 1999). In the late 19th century and the early 20th century, GOH was a popular destination among travellers and guests as it offered a view of the ocean liners lining up in the port, especially during the visits of state dignitaries and British royalty (Welandawe & Weerasinghe, 2016).

Later, GOH was taken over by the Bank Of Ceylon (BOC) who converted some parts of the hotel into their metropolitan division (Welandawe & Weerasinghe, 2016).

A protected monument
The Grand Oriental Hotel building in York Street in the Grama Niladhari Wasama Fort in the Colombo Divisional Secretary’s Division is an archaeological protected monument, declared by a government gazette notification published on 21 January 2000.

Attribution
2) This image (Grand Oriental Hotel, Colombo in the 1880s) has been released into the Public Domain.
 
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.21-22.
2) Rajapakshe, S.; Bandara, T. M. C.; Vanninayake, R. M. B. T. A. B. (Editors), 2018. Puravidya Sthana Namavaliya: Kolamba Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Vol. I. Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). ISBN: 978-955-7457-19-2. p.24.
3) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. no: 1116. 21 January 2000.
4) Welandawe, H., Weerasinghe, J., 2016. Urban Heritage in the Western Region Megapolis Planning Project. p.31.
5) Wright, A. ed., 1999. Twentieth Century Impressions of Ceylon: Its History, People, Commerce, Industries, and Resources (first published in 1907). Asian Educational Services. pp.452-454.

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This page was last updated on 3 September 2022