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Arcade Independence Square, Colombo

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The Arcade Independence Square is a shopping complex housed in a group of renovated buildings including the former Jawatta Lunatic Asylum and the former Western Provincial Council Building. It was built as a part of the Independence Square Redevelopment programme initiated by the Sri Lankan Government.HistoryThe building was originally constructed in 1889, as a lunatic asylum, Jawatta Lunatic Asylum (also known as the Cinnamon Gardens Asylum), for Rs 450,000. In 1875 the then Governor, Sir William Gregory, based on the recommendations of the Principal Civil Medical Officer, Dr. W R Kynsey, decided to build a new aylum to replace the existing facility at Borella. Issues over the location and design meant that construction did not commence until 1879, following the intervention of the new Governor, Sir James Longdon. Even then further construction of the building was delayed until 1882. The building consisted of an entrance block, two patient wings (accommodating 400 patients) connected to the central administration and a boundary wall. Longdon defended the cost of the facility stating at the time, "The asylum is a series of one-storey buildings of the plainest type. The walls are of brick plastered, because of the climate plastering is found requisite for the preservation of buildings. There is no expensive ornamentation, or indeed any ornament at all, unless a short ungraceful and inexpensive tower over the entrance designed for the clock can be called an ornament. The enclosing walls are of ordinary cabook, such as is universally used for garden walls in Colombo." The Jawatta Asylum suffered from overcrowding within years of completion, housing over 500 patients. In 1917 a new larger facility was constructed at Angoda, with all the patients being transferred from Jawatta by 1926.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
144 reviews
Google
4.5
TripAdvisor
  • Visited on 14/7 to purchase a wrist watch. Still they are maintaining the standards which I saw on opening days..There are places to eat and to buy quality goods. Place is suitable to up market shoppe...  more »
  • A former asylum built in the 1870's this series of buildings was a very sensitive restoration of a historical edifice, turned into a multi use complex from restaurants to shops and spas. Very photogen...  more »
  • Good for a short stroll, but very boring otherwise. Disappointing if shopping is in mind. Shopping scene in Colombo is very sad!  more »
Google
  • A beautiful afternoon at Independence Square. Well maintained and an opportunity to see the old colonial architecture. The expansive green spaces, buildings and history captivate. No entry fee, ample parking, clean and safe. Lots to see or just hang out and enjoy the views. My second trip to Colombo and both times I took the time to visit this historic location. I would add it to the must visit locations when in the capitol city of Colombo.
  • Great place to shop. Some upmarket brands and a good cinema with 2 small screens. Plenty of things to see and a place with a lot of history. Some good clean toilets if you need to use them are located in 2 areas. A state bank and a private bank ATM are also located within the premises. Plenty of places to eat and enjoy the evening.
  • Very beautiful place. Ample parking at main entrances and rear entrances from independent square. Renowned Branded shopping malls. Very good place to do family shopping. Seasonal offers are available for credit cards.
  • Urban beauty you can see it here. Beautiful Garden. Luxuary shopping malls. It's gives good relax sitting in there.
  • Contains luxurious and branded shops. Many delicious food options as well. Movie theater is located on 1st floor.

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Despite its relatively low cost of living, Colombo accommodations tend to be fairly pricey. Close to the sea and the lake, as well as near the city's parks and the plazas, hotels come in the form of old colonial buildings and ultra-modern high rises, with a decent selection of each to choose from. Budget-conscious travelers should pay attention to the short rental options in the town's more residential areas, or look for the smattering of simple, but serviceable options close to the main train stations, and on the side streets set back from the waterfront.
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