Colombo, located on the west of the island, is the commercial and industrial capital of Sri Lanka. It offers a busy and vibrant atmosphere, whilst retaining a strong cultural background, this quintessentially cosmopolitan city is bustling with tuks tuks and people everywhere. Visitors to this exciting city can expect to be dazzled.
The history of Colombo dates back to the 5th century and it initially grew as a seaport for trade between Asia and the West due to its prime location. The Fort, Cinnamon Gardens and Pettah, one of the older districts, are particular historical highlights, while the Beira Lake, and green parks and canals that interject the city provide a contrasting natural beauty. Visitors will be captured by its vast range of activities from exploring its historic monuments and colonial architecture to its festivals, events and beautiful beaches.
It boasts stunning outdoor scenery, the Beira lake was pivotal to Sri-Lanka’s defense in the Colonial times, and lies at the heart of Colombo. Visitors will be able to see different species of flora and fauna, including; storks and monitor lizards. Feast your eyes upon a variety of animals at the National zoological gardens, as one of the world’s most outstanding with 3000 animals and 350 species, it is not be missed.
Viharamahadevi Park is the oldest and largest park in Colombo. The park is named after Queen Viharamahadevi and was built during the British rule of Sri Lanka. Visitors to the park can expect to see a huge Buddha statue, magnificent water fountains and a mini zoo. The park is also host to many open air concerts and public events, making it a lively and cultural place to visit.
As a cultural centre, Colombo is filled with awe inspiring monuments including the Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara, a Buddhist temple that dates back before 500 BCE. Built on the banks of the Kelani River, it is said to be extremely sacred and a truly magical experience during the hours of sundown.
Located in the heart of Colombo is the Galle face Green. This promenade stretches for half a kilometre along the coast. Laid out in 1859 to give the cannons of Fort a clear line of fire, it was then initially used for horse racing and golf, and today is popular with local food vendors at weekends, offering a great opportunity to try out the local cuisine, whilst relaxing in the open space by the sea.
Colombo is home to only two museums, and the National Museum is the largest; not just in Colombo, but the whole of Sri Lanka. Visitors to the museum can expect to see the throne and crown of the Kandyan Monarchs amongst other exhibits that tell the story of ancient Sri Lanka.