The Old Dutch Market

A tuk-tuk from Matara beach will get you to this historic market in less than ten minutes. Known varyingly as the Old Nupe Market, the Old Dutch Market or the Old Dutch Trade Centre, this open-air building follows a T-shaped plan, housing two long corridors that intersect at the market’s grand entrance. Its origins are debated today, with some prescribing its construction to the British in the 18th century, and still others claiming that it could have been built by the Dutch before them.

The structure features large white stone pillars that support a wooden frame edged with stunning latticework, with the roof having been tiled in red clay tiles harking back to the Kandyan Era. Meat, vegetables, textiles and household supplies are thought to have once been sold here. The building might be more remarkable for those interested in colonial architecture on the island, but its long corridors and decidedly historic air make it well worth a visit for any romantic hoping for a glimpse at the past.