The President’s House in Colombo, which is the official residence of President Maitripala Sirisena is open to the public until Tuesday (June 14). The President’s House in Colombo has been the official residence of the leaders of the country for more than 200 years.

This has been the residence of a Dutch Governor, thirty British Governors, two Sri Lankan Governor Generals and seven Presidents of Sri Lanka. The edifice was built during Dutch rule in Sri Lanka . There was a white building with a balcony facing the sea , with a flag post in the front, in the first map of Colombo sketched in the 18th century. The white building is the present President’s House.

According to historical records , the President’s House was built on the land belonging to the St. Francis’s Church. The Portuguese Church was converted into a Dutch Church during the Dutch Period. In 1757 a new church named Wolfendhal Church was built. Sir Arthur Gordon built a park there and now it is known as “Gordon’s Park”.

There was a cemetery also near the church. According to records , King Don Juan Dharmapala,who was detained in Colombo was buried in this cemetery.

Addressing the first set of visitors the President said that he has no intention of using this huge mansion, as this is too big for him.

“Being a person from the village this is rather big for me.Moreover, when residing in such a large building, the thinking patter and lifestyle of one may also change” the President replied when he was asked why this mansion is not used by him as his residence.

He further added that if he lives in this mansion, the electricity bill alone will be over Rs 7 million and the water bill Rs 4 million monthly. However, since the mansion consists of an underground bunker the electricity bill will come to around Rs 4 million monthly as the bunker is air-conditioned for 24hours.

The President further added that the President houses in Kandy and Nuwara Eliya too will be opened to the public.