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