Arcade Independence Square
Colombo 7

Another sign of development in the city of Colombo is the highly important landmark known as Arcade Independence Square, a building that does its work well in terms of being a perfect “hangout” spot for today’s urban youth. It is much grander and more ambitious in its scale than either the Old Dutch Hospital or Racecourse. For a bit of history, it has been created out of, apparently, the old Auditor General’s Building and the Jawatta Lunatic Asylum, but looking at the place now, one can see how transformation works on the ground level.

Adding to the charm of Arcade is the fountain system just out in front, as well as the well-kept and rather narrow lawns, interspersed by trees and shrubbery. There is a magnificent group of snarling lions right at the epicenter of the complex, done up in a modernistic style rather than simply classical or local. What is also unique about it is that it goes in for height as much as space in its open paved yard. The main building of Arcade rises into the air, casting its mighty shadow on all and sundry that sit out to enjoy the view of traffic whizzing by as they forget their cares, immersing themselves in the wonder of the coffeehouse culture in particular the familiar sight of the skinny, tall and bearded hippie-styled young male just out for some music and a poem or two.

However for those that wish to escape the sunlight and the rush of the working world, there is always something for everyone at Arcade. Inside, there are glittering chandeliers hanging from the ceiling, showing off their glory with pride and a sense of superiority, while outside a white theme runs straight, with the brightness of the great buildings and the beautiful furniture out in the courtyards. The blindingly white colonial-style building is a vast shopping complex with a variety of brands accessible at all prices. The complex itself is set out on a series of buildings, with the Auditor General’s building and the Western Provincial Council building each having their own perks.

Perhaps one of the most well-known restaurants for Sri Lankan cuisine is Kaema Sutra, and it's situated in the ground floor of the Auditor General’s building. If one wishes for something a little less extravagant or pricey, then a little trip to the wonderful tea or coffee joints would do the trick.

There is a vast selection, from Mlesna to Burger King and varied patisseries such as Paan Paan and Sen Saal for those who would like to grab a quick snack rather than a big meal. Wash your meals down with a nice, cool taste of nature, with the Tropical Juice Bar and you will feel truly rejuvenated. The Empire Cineplex is one of the most highly developed cinemas in Sri Lanka, with showings of movie filmed in 3D, thus offering viewers the ultimate viewing experience in a relatively comfortable location. Those that are more concerned with slimming their wallets down can visit any number of shops, from Stone N’ String and Titan to electronics stores like the ubiquitous Philips, Samsung and even a branch of Wickramarachchi Opticians.

Written by Vasika Udurawane for

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