President's House for public viewing
President's House in Fort will officially open for public viewing
from June 9 Thursday till the 14th. Entrance is free. However, schools
and other institutions are required to make an appointment with the
Presidential Secretariat prior to the visit.
It is reported that there is a four-storeyed underground luxury
palace built by former president Mahinda Rajapaksa. Each story spreads
over an area of 3000 square feet.
Built during the Dutch era, the House has been the public property of
former Dutch governor Johan Gerard van Angelbeek who was in Sri Lanka
from 1764-1767. On January 17, 1804, the House became the property of
the British regime. Set in approximately four acres, the main attraction
of the residence is the Gordon Gardens laid out by Governor Sir Arthur
Hamilton Gordon, in honour of Queen Victoria in 1887.
Since independence in 1948, the house was officially declare the
residence of Governor General of Ceylon. It was renamed as the
President's House in 1972 when Sri Lanka became a republic. William
Gopallawa was the first Governor General and the first President of Sri
Lanka to reside at the House.