iShop Cargills

Fort’s first department store and signature candy-striped landmark

Fort's Signature Building

Cargills opened in 1906 as Colombo’s first department store and for decades it was peerless. The city’s prime shopping destination for the rich tea planters and colonial elite stocked everything from the finest champagne, caviar and cheeses to Chinese fireworks, Indian dried fish and Japanese toys. Legend has it that even the salespeople wore suits.

The splendid Victorian grand mercantile red brick facade with white trimmed columned arcade
— PM Tennekoon, Architect

Meet Minerva

In the main hall next to the elevator you can find a curious small wooden statue. This is Minerva, the Roman goddess of wisdom and warfare. She’s the only bit that survived of old Captain Sluysken’s bungalow that stood on this spot before Cargills was built.

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