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Former Dutch Hospital - Colombo's new "Shopping Precinct"

Former Dutch Hospital - Colombo's new "Shopping Precinct"

A new shopping precinct at the former Dutch Hospital of Colombo opened for public today, (02 Dec) as the latest tourist attraction in the city.

An effort of Tourism Development Authority and Urban development Authority has resulted in much awaited launch of the former Dutch Hospital of Colombo as a shopping precinct.

The opening ceremony was graced by the Minister of Economic Development, Hon Basil Rajapksa and Secretary to the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

Initially, the Tourism Authority took over this property and developed with a view to converting it into a tourist attraction while retaining its original Dutch architecture. Later, the Urban Development Authority under the direction of Defence Secretary took expeditious steps to complete the renovation to make a center for tourists.

During the renovation process of the building, special attention was paid not to change the original structure of the building while it was modernized with state-of-the-art facilities. The shopping precinct, which consists of 12 stalls including a restaurant, jewelers, textile and handicraft stalls, was declared open as a high end tourist centre.

As per records, the hospital was built during the rule of the Dutch from 1656 to 1796. A Dutch map drawn in 1732 shows the hospital at its present site. However, the hospital had excited since 1681 according to a description by Christoper Schweitzer, a German national who was in Sri Lanka serving the Dutch from 1676 to 1682.

During the colonial era, the Dutch hospital was established to cater to medical requirements of the staff of the Dutch India Company. It was located close to the harboour as it was convenient to transport patients from the ship.

This would be a unique centre. Centrally located surrounded by city hotels, Dutch Architecture that was retained to be witnessed by visitors into Sri Lanka and a place to shop and dine, contributes to the efforts of authorities to make Colombo a vibrant city which is a part of the Tourist Strategy developed under the guidance of Hon. Basil Rajapaksa.


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