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Columbo’s Fort District is one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods. Developed extensively during the British Colonial era, a visit to many areas in the Fort seems like stepping back a century or more. Many of its hotels, shops and offices date to this period. To this day it remains the city’s center of business and is home to the Bank of Ceylon headquarters and Ceylon Stock Exchange.
The Fort District was built around Colombo’s fine harbor and it is here you will find the Maritime Museum, lighthouse, and Naval barracks. The area is also site of the country’s Presidential residency and some branches of the country’s government offices. The area is not exclusively a slice of old England. For example, the Old Dutch …
Christianity is a minority religion in Sri Lanka with just 7.5% of the population being Christian. Most residents are Sinhalese Buddhists (70%), with smaller numbers of Tamils (12.5%) and Muslims (10%). Historically all these people have gotten along quite well, although there have been periods of serious conflict (eg. a bloody 50 year civil war between the Sinhalese and Tamils). While there are many ancient Buddhist temples throughout Sri Lanka, it’s not common to find older Christian churches.
It’s worth looking for the entrance to St Peter’s in the Fort District of Colombo. St. Peter’s is located on Church Street beside the Grand Oriental Hotel, adjoining the city’s harbor. The area is quite secure, with barricades and fencing, because Police headquarters …
The Grand Oriental Hotel (GOH, previously the Taprobane Hotel) is a heritage property located in the Fort district of Colombo.
The building was formerly a barracks for the British Army and was converted to a hotel in 1875, with 154 rooms. Ads at the time claimed it was “the only fully European owned and fully equipped hotel in the East”; also, “the hotel is lighted throughout by electricity and all the public rooms and bedrooms are kept cool by means of electric fans”.
It was an elegant place to visit in the 19th century. It had a tropical garden, was illuminated at night by colored lights, and had its own orchestra which performed daily. The hotel underwent a thorough a refurbishment in …
Halifax’s roots lie in its proximity to the sea, and its large natural harbor. When the town was founded in 1749, among the first buildings constructed was a guardhouse atop what would become known as Citadel Hill. The Citadel, because of its hilltop location, offered a strategic defensive position. As the harborside town grew and changed, so did the fort which overlooked and protected it.
The Citadel was completed in 1856, the fourth and last in a series of forts built at this site. Its official name is Fort George (after King George II). It has a distinctive star shape, strategic for allowing optimum defense of the structure. Fortunately these defenses were never put to the test as the city was …
My visit to Sri Lanka this past year provided my first opportunity to explore the east and southeastern coasts of the island. During prior visits, the area was “off limits” because of the decades-long Civil War disrupting the country (which fortunately has been resolved). The region around Batticaloa was a Tamil stronghold in their fight with the Sinhalese government. The region is decidedly more Hindu and Christian than other parts of the island I’ve visited.
Sri Lanka, because of it’s strategic location, has been in the cross-hairs of many colonial nations over the centuries. In modern recorded history this includes the Portuguese, Dutch and English, all of whom left their mark on the country. There were several dozen such old forts …
When you visit Dubai today you’ll see a landscape of shiny skyscrapers piercing the hazy desert air. There’s a lot of history to the region, although little lingering evidence of man’s habituating it because until a few decades ago, this was the home of nomadic tribesmen. In the mid-twentieth century the influx of petrodollars changed all that and fueled the construction boom leading to the city we see today. If like me you like to study the history of a place, then a visit to the Dubai Museum is a must when visiting the U.A.E.
The Al Fahidi Fort, built of coral stone and mortar in 1787, is the oldest building in Dubai. The Fort is situated on the south side of Dubai Creek in …
The Ring of Kerry is a loop drive that circles the Iveragh Peninsula in County Kerry. It’s just 110 miles (176 km) long but is not a fast drive as its narrow and winding. And there’s lots of beautiful scenery and historic stops along the way, so take your time and a full day to enjoy this trip. The Iveragh peninsula has many ancient ring forts dotting the rocky land and this road offers the opportunity to easily explore several of them. Awe-inspiring vistas of a rugged coast, the central mountains (including the tallest mountain in Ireland), and on clear days the Beara Peninsula to the south, the Skellig Islands to the west and the Dingle peninsula on the Northern part of the drive (limited views and visibility on …