Built during the second half of the 17th century as the residence of Count August van Ranzow, the Dutch East India Company’s governor in Colombo, this attractive old building at 95 Prince Street is one of the few surviving remnants of Colombo’s Dutch colonial heritage.
On the fringes of Pettah, it is surrounded by market stalls and antique shops.
Once the Old Auditor General’s Building, the Arcade – Independence Square is a well refurbished development project which has turned out to be a trendy shopping and entertainment venue.
A gift from the People’s Republic of China in memory of the Prime Minister of Ceylon from 1956 – 1959, Sir Solomon Ridgeway Dias Bandaranaike, the construction was carried out as a joint venture from both countries.
With a total area of 16,000 sq ft, BMICH is always the venue chosen for high profile events and exhibitions including CHOGM (Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2013).
Immediately east of Fort (across the narrow canal that separates the outer harbour from the Beira Lake) is Pettah, a maze of streets and alleys piled and crammed with goods of every description, from colourful textiles, gold and silver, and colonial-era antiquities to the necessities of everyday life – spices, fruits and vegetables, reeking heaps of dried fish, paraffin, batteries, electrical goods, clothes and footwear.
Whatever you are looking for, you’ll find it in Pettah – though shopping here, which can call for determined bargaining, is not for the faint of heart.
The structure was built in commemoration of the Independence of Sri Lanka from the British rule and to mark the ceremonial start of self rule with the opening of the first parliament on the 4th of February 1948.