Colombo is the capital city of Sri Lanka. It is also the biggest city in the island, with approx. 2 million inhabitants. Name Colombo comes from Sinhalese word Kolom Tota, which means the sea port. Colombo was an important center even before the European colonialists came to Sri Lanka. It was a part of the Chinese Silk road and many Arab traders moved to Colombo in the 7th century with an aim to control the trade flow toward the west.
The Portuguese arrived in the 16th century in Sri Lanka. They have built the fort in Colombo and Galle, a small town in the south of Sri Lanka, with an aim to make Sri Lanka their colony. After the Portuguese, in the 17th century, arrived the Dutch forces with the same colonial goals. Shortly after the Dutch, in the 19th century, came the British colonialists as their power was growing in India. They conquered the Dutch forces and proclaimed Sri Lanka part of the British Empire. Britains also declared Colombo the capital of Sri Lanka in 1802.
The first building complex ever built in Colombo was the fort. Later on other parts of the city started to develop, such as Pettah, urban area with numerous markets and New Bazaar. With constant increase of the inhabitants in Colombo, many people accepted to move to the suburban areas as life in the capital tended to be very crowded.
Colombo offers a lot of sights and tourist attractions to its visitors; however, tourists usually do not spend a lot of time in Colombo as they are attracted to sights and attractions that are located in the central and south part of Sri Lanka.
What to visit in Colombo?
Here visitors may find short list of all sights that they may visit in Colombo.
Gangaramaya Temple is one of the most well-known Buddhist temples in Colombo. When visitors enter the temple, they will see delightful ceiling decorations that describe episodes from Buddha’s life. Inside the temple visitors will also find one museum. It is believed that the temple preserves the relics of Buddha’s hair. Gangaramaya Temple has a low’ of Buddha’s statues built in various materials and sizes. Visiting this temple is a truly unique experience, and well worth a visit.
The entrance fee is 100 LRK, although this is not considered as the ticket price, instead it is considered as donation. Locals do not pay to enter the temple. However, we consider that it is more than right to leave donations as this place is truly beautiful and it offers a unique experience.
Working hours for the Gangaramaya Temple is every day from 5:30 am to 22:00pm.
Gangaramaya Temple Is located on the following address: 61 Sri Jinarathana Rd, Colombo 00200, Sri Lanka.
Pettah market – is a very big and bewildering market in Colombo. Here one may find million items that one may find useful such as a souvenir or a nice gift for your nearest and dearest. One may also find many spices and Sri Lankan famous tea. The right price to pay is the one you manage to negotiate. In Sri Lanka everywhere is like that and visitors should prepare their best negotiating skills. Market is a rather intriguing place if you would like to understand a bit of mentality of Sri Lankans and buy some local products.
The market is located near the Colombo Fort. Visitors may take tuk tuk from the fort.
National Museum of Colombo
The Colombo National Museum was established on the 1st January 1877 by Sir William Henry Gregory, the British Governor of Sri Lanka at the time.
Here visitors may find works of art that represent cultural and natural heritage of Sri Lanka. The museum is divided into several sections: Ethnology and Anthropology sections, Botany division, Entomology division, Zoology and Geology divisions.
These rich collections will demonstrate the importance of the Sri Lankan culture to visitors. Here visitors may see the paintings from as early as the 5th Century.
The ticket price for National Museum of Colombo is 1000 LRK and 500 LRK for children.
Working hours of National Museum of Colombo is every day from 9:00am to 5:00pm.
National Museum of Colombo is located on the following address: Sir Marcus Fernando Mawatha, Colombo 00700, Sri Lanka. It is 4,5km from Colombo Fort. Visitors may take the tuk tuk to get to the museum.
Beira Lake is located close to the Gangaramaya Temple, in the heart of Colombo. In the middle of the lake there is a small island called the Simamalaka Shrine. It was built from donation of a Muslim sponsor. The lake is intersected with a bridge and if our visitors cross the bridge, they will find one peaceful oasis in Colombo. Here one can find a small park where onlylocals come. As the lake ends in the Indian ocean, during the colonial era, Beira lake was used for within the city. Beira was given by Portuguese colonialists. This work in Portuguese means brder.
Independence Memorial Hall
Sri Lanka in 1948. In order to celebrate their from the British rule they have built a statue of Sri Lanka’s first president, “The Father of the Nation” Rt. Hon. Don Stephen Senanayake. Independence Memorial Hall in Colombo was actually inspired by the Royal Audience Hall in Kandy (ex royal capital of Sri Lanka). Here visitors shall also find Memorial Museum. The hall is also used for various religious events. Independence Memorial Hall is really place to visit and to escape the streets of Colombo.
Colombo Fort consists of various buildings constructed in the colonial era including the train station (this sight is a must see). Visitors will that they are back in 18th century.Buildings around the fort were constructed during the Dutch and British rule. Today, there are numerous modern buildings constructed around this area and several old colonial buildings have been restored. Colombo Fort houses the president’s house and various ministel and public administration buildings.