Impressive collection of artefacts in a magnificent white building
The country’s main museum, housed in a grand white edifice is definitely worth a visit, even if it’s just for a stroll in the landscaped gardens and huge banyan trees that easily catapult you back a century or so. Have a few hours to spare? Buy a ticket! The must-see is the throne and crown of the old king of Kandy, ruler of the last local kingdom to stand up against the British, but it has many other highlights in the vast collection of ancient paintings, books and priceless antiques. A great place for an introduction into Sri Lankan history and art with superb selection of art pieces displayed in massive rooms with high ceilings. There’s also a lot of artefacts from the VOC days, weapons, stones, tableware, uniforms and maps. But our favourite must be the royal jewellery collection. The designs go back centuries, but they wouldn’t look out of place in a contemporary jewellery shop.
Closed on Fridays
The museum was opened by Sir William Henry Gregory, the British Governor in Ceylon at the time. The opening ceremony took place in the presence of a large crowd. At the end of the ceremony, the governor asked the chief builder Wapchi Marikar what honour he wished to have for his dedication. Marikar requested for the museum to be closed on Fridays to respect Muslim prayer hour and for many years his request was granted. Now it’s open every day except public holidays.