The Kingsbury Hotel (Sri Lanka)

The Kingsbury Hotel
The Kingsbury, formerly the Hotel Ceylon Intercontinental, is a nine-story star-class hotel located facing the Indian Ocean near Galle Face Green in the heart of Colombo City, Sri Lanka.

Unlike the resort architecture of the 1960s, Hotel Ceylon Intercontinental was established as an example of high-rise engineering (Bozdoğan et al., 2022). It was built in 1973 by Sri Lankan civil engineer U. N. Gunasekara and financed with a loan of $3.5 million from the Export-Import Bank of Washington D.C. (Bozdoğan et al., 2022).

1996 & 2019 bomb blasts
On 31 January 1996, a 400 kg truck bomb was detonated at the Central Bank complex in Colombo by LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam), a militant group designated as a terrorist organization by a number of countries including Sri Lanka, India, the USA and the EU. At least 90 people were killed and 1,400 injured in the attack and it damaged several nearby buildings including the twin towers of the Colombo World Trade Centre, the Mercantile Building, the Lighthouse Clock Tower, the Galadari Hotel, George Steuart Building, Office of Air Lanka and the Kingsbury Hotel (Chalk, 2012). The LTTE was finally defeated by government forces in 2009.

On 21 April 2019 (Easter Sunday), an Islamic suicide bomber exploded himself inside the Kingsbury hotel building. On the same day, another two luxury hotels (Shangri-La Colombo, Cinnamon Grand) and three churches (St. Anthony's Church, St. Sebastian's Church, and Batticaloa Zion Church) were targeted in a series of coordinated terrorist suicide bombings. The attacks were carried out by Islamic suicide bombers who are believed to be associated with National Thowheeth Jama'ath, a local Islamic group with suspected foreign ties. More than 250 people were killed, including 40 foreign nationals. 

1) The Kingsbury Hotel by AKS.9955 is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

1) Bozdoğan, S., Pyla, P. and Phokaides, P. eds., 2022. Coastal Architectures and Politics of Tourism: Leisurescapes in the Global Sunbelt. Taylor & Francis. p.26.
2) Chalk, P. ed., 2012. Encyclopedia of Terrorism [2 volumes]. ABC-CLIO. pp.159-160.

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This page was last updated on 16 July 2023

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