#Colombo City tour

Where the busy meets glamour

5 Places included

Like many cities, Colombo's urban area extends well beyond the boundaries of a single local authority, encompassing other municipal and urban councils such as Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte Municipal Council, Dehiwala Mount Lavinia Municipal Council, Kolonnawa Urban Council, Kaduwela Municipal Council and Kotikawatte Mulleriyawa Pradeshiya Sabha. The main city is home to a majority of Sri Lanka's corporate offices, restaurants and entertainment venues

Another belief is that the name is derived from the Sinhalese name කොල-අඹ-තොට Kola-amba-thota which means "Harbor with leafy mango trees". This coincides with Robert Knox's history of the island while he was a prisoner in Kandy. He writes that, "On the West the City of Columbo, so called from a Tree the Natives call Ambo, (which bears the Mango-fruit) growing in that place, but this never bare a fruit, but only leaves, which in their Language is Cola and hence they called the Tree Colambo Swhich the Christians in honour of Columbus turned to Colombo."

Galle face green

The originally planned Galle face extended over a much larger area than what can be seen today. The promenade was initially laid out by the Dutch for a military purpose. They used it as a means to enable their cannons a strategic line of fire against the Portuguese. One version of how the name Galle Face is derived, is that it is from the original Dutch name for the fortifications. After many years of planning and hard work the promenade was subsequently completed in 1859.

Horse races were held in the Galle Face Green in Sri Lanka in the early 1820s, during the time of the then British Governor Sir Edward Barnes (1776–1838). For this an area which was previously marshy land was filled with earth and leveled. The area became known as the Colpetty Race Course, was one and a half miles long and was used for horse races until 1893 after which horse racing moved to the Colombo Racecourse.

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Old Parliament Building

The revivalist architecture of the Old Parliament Building in Sri Lanka integrated exquisite columns of the classical “Ionic” design, gently fluted towards the capital with a representation of two opposed scrolls. The façade of this magnificent building has an entrance reached by ascending many flights of broad steps. At the top are six columns supporting a traditional triangular pediment, and on either side are four more columns. Along the length of the structure is a series of colonnades, a pair with eleven columns each. The building has been aptly described by Sri Lankan architectural historian Ismeth Raheem as a “masterpiece in stone”.

The chief architect of the Public Works Department, A. Woodson was responsible for the design of the building with his initial estimate of Rs 400,000 for the scheme being later revised Rs 450,000, taking into account the extra expenses involved.

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Museum

The Colombo Museum as it was called at the beginning was established on 1st January 1877. It founder was Sir William Henry Gregory, the British Governor of Ceylon (Sri Lanka) at the time. The Royal Asiatic Society (CB) was instrumental in bringing to the notice of Gregory on his appointment as Governor in 1872 the need for a public museum with much difficulty the approval of the legislative council was obtained within a year. The Architect of the Public Works Department, J.G. Smither was able to prepare the plans for new structure on Italian architectural style. The construction was completed in 1876 and the Museum commenced it functions in the following year.

In 1982 Dr. Thelma Gunawardena became the first woman director of the National Museum of Colombo. She served from 1982 through 1994.

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Indipendance Square

Independence Memorial Hall (also Independence Commemoration Hall) is a national monument in Sri Lanka built for commemoration of the independence of Sri Lanka from the British rule with the restoration of full governing responsibility to a Ceylonese-elected legislature on February 4, 1948. It is located in Independence Square (formerly Torrington Square) in the Cinnamon Gardens, Colombo. It also houses the Independence Memorial Museum.

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Bandaranayake International Memorial Hall

Built between 1970 and 1973, the convention centre was a gift from the People's Republic of China in memory of Solomon Ridgeway Dias Bandaranaike, Prime Minister (1956–1959). The construction of the hall was carried out by a joint Sri Lankan and Chinese workforce with a considerable portion of the building materials being imported from China. In 1998 a small Exhibition Centre, the Sirimavo Bandaranaike Memorial Exhibition Centre, was built on the grounds as a gift from China.

One of the latest enhancements is the Sirimavo Bandaranaike Exhibition Centre, a palatial space of 33,000 ft² surface area as an additional venue for events with sufficient exhibiting facilities. The additions are a Cinema hall and Mihilaka Medura – an eco-auditorium with lush greenery catering to an eco-based ambience.

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Cheers from Our Visitors

“We are an Austrian couple and were planning to go to Sri Lanka for our holidays. We found the details from Mr. Mervyn Perera from this page and contact him by mail as we needed a good, knowledgeable driver for our tour.”

Yvonne M, Austria Read more traveler

“We have just returned from 17-day trip around Sri Lanka, which Mervyn organised for us.It was fantastic! Mervyn's excellent driver, Kapilar, could cover most difficult roads caring always about our safety and comfort.”

Danuta and Malgorzata, Krakow, Poland Read more traveler

“I had a tour in Sri Lanka with my parents in September 2011. I did contact Mervyn for my tour request and he replied me very fast. At the begin my plan was to take the driver and car. Just I checked the hotel prices from Mervyn.”

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