Dec 05, 2011 (LBO) – A tourist ‘shopping precinct’ has been built in Sri Lanka’s capital Colombo at the premises of a hospital in dating back to the Dutch colonial period. The Dutch hospital was opened by economic development minister Basil Rajapaksa and his brother defence secretary Gothabhaya Rajapaksa who also oversees the country’s urban development agency.
The hospital was built during the Dutch period which ranged from 1656 to 1776 AD. Sri Lanka’s tourist board said Dutch map drawn in 1732 shows the hospital at the site.
But it had existed at least as far back as 1681 according a description by Christopher Schweitzer, a German national who was in Sri Lanka with the Dutch from 1676 to 1682.
“During the colonial era, the Dutch hospital was established to cater to medical requirements of the staff of the Dutch East India Company,” the tourist agency said in a statement.
“It was located close to the harbor as it was convenient to transport patients from the ships.”
The shopping area has 12 stalls a restaurant, jewelers, textile and handicraft stalls.
Sri Lanka hit 750,000 tourists on November 24, and the year-end target has been revised up