It was the shifting of the Race Course from Galle Face to the cinnamon gardens in the 1850s that made this area an attraction for the ‘high society’ to build their mansions, which has now become a high-end suburb of Colombo. The name ‘Cinnamon Gardens’ is derived from the fact that the Dutch had established extensive cinnamon plantations in that area in 1789. However, the cinnamon market collapsed in the 19th century due to the more lucrative coffee prices. This event and the shifting of the Racecourse paved the way to re-develop the area into an elite neighbourhood. Cinnamon Gardens is situated some three km south east of Colombo Fort. Wide lanes with imposing trees and beautiful posh mansions give this area its sophisticated character. Many embassies have their seat in Colombo-7 and important places of interest for tourists are based here, such as the BMICH, the Town Hall, the Prime Minister’s Office, the Independence Hall, the Independence Arcade, Royal College, the National Museum, Viharamadevi Park (Victoria Park), Odel Department Store, the Dewatehagaha mosque and the National Art Gallery. In the center of Cinnamon Gardens the University of Colombo is situated, the oldest institute of higher education in Sri Lanka, founded in 1821.  Without doubt, this is the most beautiful part of Colombo. It is also the place where the Colombo Department of Meteorology and its Observatory are located.

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