Colombo – 4 Amazing Sights Within Sri Lanka’s Capital
Within Sri Lanka’s capital city of Colombo, there lies a scenery that mixes together the island’s storied culture and history with more modern attractions and sensibilities. The city’s peculiar colonial history also adds or layers into the mix with many places around the city highlighting this aspect. With so many wondrous sights to see, it can be difficult to prioritize and so, why not take a gander at these few stunning attractions first on your trip to Sri Lanka.
National Museum of Colombo
The Sri Lanka National Museum, also known as the National Museum of Colombo, is Sri Lanka’s official museum and will take you on an adventure through thousands of years of Sri Lankan culture. It’s one of those museums with a wide range of media, including paintings, artefacts, clothing, jewellery, arms, coins, and craftwork. The exhibits present the country’s cultural and natural heritage in chronological order, beginning with prehistory and going all the way up to the present day.
It’s best to allow yourself a few hours if you wish to thoroughly investigate the collections. The museum is located near Viharamahadevi Park in central Colombo, in a grand Victorian colonial building.
Nelum Pokuna Mahinda Rajapaksa Theatre
This large, modern performing arts centre hosts a variety of musical, dance, and cultural events. It was renamed in recent years after Mahinda Rajapaksa, the country’s former president. The design, like so many other things in Sri Lanka, is meant to evoke the image of a lotus flower.
The theatre’s schedule includes symphony and opera performances from various cultures plus contemporary pop concerts. The main auditorium or the open-air amphitheatre host the performances. The theatre is located in the heart of Colombo, directly across from Viharamahadevi Park.
The schedule for the theatre is available to view online and tickets can be booked in the same fashion. It’s quite an enthralling experience, one that you should make sure is on your bucket list for a vacation in Sri Lanka.
This relatively new attraction to the city is also one of the neatest places to visit in Colombo. The Colombo Lotus Tower, standing at 368 metres, is South Asia’s tallest freestanding structure, and a trip to the top provides unobstructed views of Colombo and the surrounding cityscape and sea.
A telecom museum, a shopping mall, a revolving fine-dining restaurant, a hotel, and an indoor and outdoor observation areas are all part of the tower. From the outside, the tower is also a sight to behold, as it is illuminated by LED lighting and features seasonal themed lighting displays each night.
As its name implies, the Lotus Tower has been designed to replicate a lotus bulb and flower, as a way to symbolize the historic culture of the city while signalling its focus for the future.
Sri Lanka Planetarium
The first and, so far, only planetarium in Sri Lanka can be a captivating way to escape the island’s heat. Located at the University of Colombo, you can enter the planetarium through a public entrance located across from Independence Square. The planetarium features a domed ceiling with the night sky and its constellations are projected onto it.
Aside from the exhibits and programming, the building is architecturally stunning, a truly must-see construction for any hardy visitor. The lotus flower design is inspired by iconic modernist cathedrals in Liverpool, England, and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Except on Mondays, the Sri Lanka Planetarium is open from 8 am to 4 pm with shows starting at 10 am and ending at 2 pm.