Colombo, Sri Lanka‘s bustling commercial hub, is located on the country’s west coast
Renowned as the financial and commercial city in Sri Lanka. It is the largest city in Sri Lanka with a population of over 800,000. Colombo is a busy and most westernized in all the aspects. In 1978 Colombo was regarded as the commercial hub in Sri Lanka during the time when the administrative office was shifted to Sri Jayewardenepura Kotte. Colombo is a city that comes with a combination of modern and ancient buildings which can offer you a different experience. Colombo city is the ideal starting point of your Sri Lankan tour. This bustling city has a history of over 600 years and a mixture of Portuguese, Moor, British and Dutch influences. The city consists of dazzling festivals, scenic beaches, historical monuments, shopping, colonial architecture and other fine places to dine.
The city is a jarring mix of old and new, with a central cluster of high-rise office blocks and hotels overshadowing red-tiled colonial-era buildings and sprawling street markets which overflow with high-piled fruit and vegetables, colourful silks and cottons, and deliciously fragrant spices. On its crowded streets stand places of worship, symbolic of Sri Lanka‘s multiethnic heritage: graceful Buddhist viharas (temples), for instance, stand close to extravagant temples encrusted with Hindu statuary, along with Muslim mosques with minarets scattered along Colombo’s streets. Its population is swollen by some 400,000 plus commuting workers during the day and is virtually empty after nightfall. There is a lively nightlife at a number of International standard hotels, clubs, pubs and dining venues while it is limited mainly to the high end customer. During the day, Colombo’s colourful street markets, colonial-era buildings, museums and galleries, churches, mosques and temples, and the lovely Viharamahadevi Park with it beautiful trees, makes it a great place to explore on foot.
Originally named Kolomthota, Colombo was the main seaport of Kotte, the country’s 15th and 16th century capital. Known to Arab traders as Kalamba, the city attracted the rapacious Portuguese as early as 1505 and became the bastion of their rule for almost 150 years. Surprisingly little remains to attest to this era, apart from a scattering of Portuguese surnames in the telephone directory and a handful of Roman Catholic churches and seminaries depicting their architecture.
The central area of the city is still known as Fort, but the remnants of the colonial battlements have long since been demolished, or incorporated in newer buildings. There are more mementoes of the British period, including the neo-Classical old parliament building, the Victorian-era President’s House (still often called ‘Queen’s House’), and the grandly mercantile brick facade of Cargill’s, a splendid 19th-century department store that has changed little since the 19th-century heyday of Sri Lanka‘s British tea planters.Share this tour
Mon – Sat 8.00 – 18.00 Sunday CLOSED