Must See Landmark (Colonial) Buildings in Sri Lanka – Part II 0 175

Must See Landmark (Colonial) Buildings in Sri Lanka – Part II 0 176

Capturing the essence of colonialism and its immaculate structures is no easy task. We spoke of the architecture seen in the vicinity of Colombo in a previous article and today we delve into colonial structures outside the Western Province. 

Nuwara Eliya

They called it “Little England” because of its English styled cottages, hotels, buildings and of course chilly weather. Here are some of Nuwara Eliya’s notable landmarks.

  • Queens Cottage – An English country house built during the British era in the 19th century as holiday home for the Governor of Ceylon. It is currently the vacation home for the President of the country
  • St. Xavier’s Church – the church structure resembles the colonial houses in the town. Built in 1838, it is located in the middle of Nuwara Eliya town and is still in use.
  • Post Office – The iconic two story red brick colonial building situated in the centre of the town cannot be missed. The town’s local post office is one of the oldest buildings that is said to have been built at least a century ago.
  • Hill Club – A former Gentlemen’s Club for the British coffee planters, Hill Club was built in 1867. It is currently an exclusive members only hotel and club that expects a similar code of conduct.

If you are travelling to Nuwara Eliya to have a look at some of these colonial wonders, Yoho Hill Road is a central location to be based at! 

Kandy

Sri Lanka hill capital is also among the sacred cities, home to the Temple of the Tooth and also has a few remaining colonial buildings that have now been converted to hotels.

  • Queens Hotel – The former residence of the Governor of Ceylon, the hotel’s history dates back to a 160 years. In later years it became a boarding house and was then declared Queens Hotel in 1869. The building has 80 rooms built in British colonial style and is located in the centre of Kandy.
  • Hotel Suisse – Built in the 17th century, this residence of a Nilame (in temple of tooth, a Diyawadana Nilame is a custodian) was later taken over during British rule. It then became homes to to a British officer, a planter, at one point occupied by a Kandy club and finally the building was bought by a Swiss lady and became guesthouse. The building also became maternity ward for planter wives, during World War II was headquarters of the South East Asian Command. After some time, the Government took over building for use as government office and it is now a 90 room hotel.

Matara

History refers to Matara as the second most important fort after Galle, during the time of the Dutch. Most of  the Dutch and English architecture still remain in the city of Matara including the lighthouse at Dondra, two forts, St. Mary’s Church, Nupe Market and the Dutch Reformed Church.  

  • Old Nupe Market – An important landmark built to be a market, it is uncertain if it was built during the Dutch or British eras. At present the market is used as a training centre for artists engaged in the performing arts.
  • Dutch Reformed Church – There is evidence that the church existed before the 18th century (1706) because of the gravestones paved on the floor. This is a smaller style of the church located in the Galle fort and one of the oldest Protestant churches still used by the public.

Kalpitiya

Dutch Reformed Church – Also known as St. Peter’s Kerk, the church was built in 1706 and is situated between Kapitiya Fort and the village. 

Sri Lanka’s history, culture and traditions are an eclectic mix of Aryan civilisations and Portuguese, Dutch and British colonies that have left many a fascinating thing for us to see! 

Feature image by Malki Perera.

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Nastashia Ekanayake is a travel enthusiastic who enjoys travelling solo when budget and time permit. Having currently moved back to Sri Lanka, she functions as an administration professional by day and wanderer and foodie by night. She enjoys journaling her adventures, exploring the joys of Instagram and looking up her next travel destination.

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