iSurprise Post Office

Grand old post office with magnificent staircase

This historic building was a dream location for the festival. Its giant walls served as the ideal backdrop to display the outsized digital art installations.
— Susanne Jaschko, Colomboscope Festival Director

Magnificent elegance

The blue and red pillar boxes are originals and make for a lovely picture spot with one of the Fort’s most magnificent public buildings as a backdrop. This must be one of the most impressive post office buildings worldwide. In the days this was a major communication hub, the centre of telegraph and telephone exchanges in the colony. Here you could send your telegraph in style. The façade is decorated by columns in every possible style: Doric for the basement, Ionic for the ground floor and Corinthian for the upper part. The most striking feature is the balustrade staircase that leads through lofty arches to the public hall with its intricate intaglio tiles.

Nice to know

The post office was designed by Herbert Frederick Tomalin - whose devotion to the building was said to border on worship - and constructed in 1891 by the prolific builder Wapchi Marikar Baas, who was also the man behind Galle Face Hotel, the Clock Tower, Colombo Museum, the Old Town Hall in Pettah and many others Colombo classics.

New ideas for the future

The post office is no more, no longer a place to buy stamps or send post a card. This jewel of a building is standing empty waiting for a new lease of life. No lack of ideas though; in 2016 GPO was the venue of the contemporary art festival Colomboscope, showcasing artworks, film screenings, audio-visual performances and an online exhibition of 10 Sri Lankan artists.

Opens in a new window