Blossoming City | Sunday Observer

Blossoming City

17 November, 2019
MODERN LOOK: Galle Face Green amidst under-construction skyscrapers
MODERN LOOK: Galle Face Green amidst under-construction skyscrapers

As I wandered around Galle Face Green a couple of weeks ago, I stumbled upon its idyllic charms. Armed with my camera, my early morning was packed with mystical moments, colonial stories, modern hi-rise buildings and other incredible experiences. Here is my pictorial presentation about the Galle Face Green.

The Galle Face Green is truly green. It is a place for relaxation and leisure. Early morning joggers go about their daily routine, while those rushing off to work walk briskly along the pavements. Couples sit under umbrellas. Labourers clean the ground. A sense of openness prevails.

The pale brown Presidential Secretariat building stands tall amidst the modernity as a reminder of our regal past. Yet, there is a present and a future merged with the past, unique in its persona at Galle Face. It just takes a moment to open your eyes and look at Galle Face Green.

VIEW TO THRILL: A viewpoint of Galle Face Green  
LOOKING TO THE FUTURE: The port city project taking shape near Galle Face

This seaside promenade is a merry-makers’ haven teeming with families, couples, kite flyers and food vendors. It is clean with not a sign of garbage anywhere, with bins along the entire stretch of the promenade.

Walking along the Galle Face Green, one is able to see a clear transformation of the busy city of Colombo, a number of under-construction skyscrapers across the city and on the seafront, the mighty Colombo Port City, being built by China on an enormous portion of land reclaimed from the sea. These are the new symbols of the country that wants to rise from a chequered past.

Spread over 269 hectares of land reclaimed from the sea adjacent to the present Colombo Fort, the Colombo Port City, co-developed by the Sri Lankan Government and China’s CHEC Port City Colombo (Pvt) Ltd under the Belt and Road initiative, would in future become a commercial, financial, residential and international entertainment hub in South Asia.

If you are a sunset person like me, then head to Galle Face Green, a beautiful promenade along the oceanfront where you can see the rosy hues of sunset. The Galle Face Green stretches for over 500 metres along the coast and was once a golf course, and used for horse racing and other sports during the colonial period. It was in 1859 that Governor Henry Ward set aside a wide stretch of land for recreational use. The colonial mansion, Galle Face Hotel stands here with its old-world charm. However, another newly built stunning hotel is the neighbouring Shangri La which takes you into a different world. Not only that, the under-construction ITC Hotel and residential apartment buildings stand towering over the sky of Colombo.

The Green is also a popular spot for open air musical shows, political meetings, religious functions and other public events.

State functions and celebrations are also held here. The National Flag seen at the Galle Face Green was unveiled at the 60th Independent Day ceremony on February 4, 2008. It is unfolded every day at 6 p.m. after an elaborate ceremony.

The wind in the late morning is steady, blowing effortlessly as the tail of the long cobra kite flaps away. Galle Face Green is where families, rich and poor, take their kids on outings and picnics, particularly on holidays. There is always room for more merry-makers surrounded by skyscrapers.

Surprisingly, the city is blossoming right in front of you!