Bogambara: A prison turned into a tourist attraction
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe declared open the first phase of Bogambara Cultural Centre last Saturday (24), with the intention of turning the Bogambara prison, one of the oldest prisons built in the colonial era to an attractive tourist destination in the future.
The opening is a part of a major project which foresees a complete change in Kandy town and conversion into a modern pilgrim town parallel to the historic city of Nara with the assistance of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Addressing the ceremony, the Premier said that through the project, the Government expects to increase the number of days the tourists stay in Kandy.
“This place which was once a prison has now become a centre of freedom which showcases the Upcountry cultural heritage. Most importantly, it has become a centre to attract tourists who visit Kandy. We are also taking steps to build two hotels nearby and we should not only limit the tourists’ attraction to the Temple of Tooth and Peradeniya Botanical Garden we must draw the attraction to Sathara Maha Devala (four shrines) as well,” Wickremesinghe said.
The project aims to transform the jail into a multi-use building with some cells and rooms turned into shops, some into shared workspaces and some turned into budget accommodation.
However, it is reported that although the Government has advertised for investors to build two five star hotels using the land behind the jail, no investors have come forward thus far.