Overview

Kollupitiya is a posh district in Colombo, earlier called Baradeniya, just south of Slave Island, in the south bordering Bambelapitiya and in the east Cinnamon Gardens, but it has not the elegance of Cinnamon Gardens anymore. Most of the magnificent villas have made place for big commercial buildings and shops; the narrow roads where once the bullock carts and carriages slowly made their way through the cinnamon and coconut plantations have now become wide boulevards, such as Galle Road and R.A De Mel Mawatha (Duplication Road) with several expensive shops, banks and offices.

The civil war, especially the big bomb blast on the Central Bank and surrounding commercial buildings has driven many companies out of Fort at that time and settled their businesses and headquarters in Kollupitiya. During that period Fort was heavily secured and parts were only accessible through security checkpoints.

 Although there are not so many touristic sights open to the public it is still a nice and vibrant part of the city worth visiting. Kollupitiya has recently been upgraded as part of a master plan for a complete make-over of the city. The pavements have been nicely designed and the streets are decorated with flowers. The main roads in Kollupetiya are the Galle Road and Duplication Road. At the beginning of the Duplication Road there is Liberty Plaza, a shopping mall, which is now under reconstruction. Along the Duplication Road you can find several nice shops. In the northern part of Kollupitiya, along the Galle Road and near the Galle Face Green, is the Prime Minister’s House; however up till the 9th of January 2015 it used to be the residence of former President MahindaRajapakshe, called Temple Trees, not available for the public. The 5 star Cinnamon Grand Hotel, just north of the Temple Trees, is one of the biggest hotels in Colombo and has many different restaurants.

History of Kollupitiya

 

The history of Kollupitiya goes back to the 17th Century, then being a small village with some villas and large plantations. An attempted murder on the king of Kandy, Rajasingha II, in 1664 by some local chiefs led to the execution of two of them, but the third one, AmbanwelaAppuhamy, was handed over to the Dutch, expecting to be heavily tortured by them. Instead they gave him his freedom and built up a good relationship. Ultimately he changed his name into a Dutch name and called himself Van Ry-cloff and the Dutch gave him a large piece of land where he started a coconut plantation. Over time he took more land from the local planters, who then called his plantations Kolla-ke-pitiya, which means ‘plundered land’.

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