Colombo City (derived from Sinhalese name Kola-amba-thota which means “mango harbour”, altered by the Portuguese to honour Christopher Columbus), is the cultural capital and largest city and commercial center of Sri Lanka. (The new administrative capital of Sri Lanka is Sri Jayawardenepura-Kotte.)
A vast majority of Sri Lankan corporations have their head offices located in Colombo. Some of the industries include chemicals, textiles, leather goods, furniture, and jewelry.
Colombo was probably known to Roman, Arab, and Chinese traders more than 2,000 years ago. Muslims settled there in the 8th century and controlled much of the trade between Sinhalese kingdoms and the outside world. The Portuguese arrived in the 16th century and built a fort to protect their spice trade. The Dutch captured the city in the 17th century. The British made the city the capital of their crown colony of Ceylon in 1802
Colombo High Lights – Colombo City Tour.
01. Viharamahadevi Park – (05 Km away from the City Center)
The Viharamahadevi Park is a public park located in Colombo, next to the National Museum in Sri Lanka. It is the oldest and largest park of the Port of Colombo Situated in front of the colonial-era Town Hall building, the park is named after Queen Viharamahadevi, the mother of King Dutugamunu.
02. Independence Memorial Hall – (06 Km From the City Center)
Independence Memorial Museum in Colombo, Sri Lanka is located in the basement of the Independence Memorial Hall, Independence Square in the Cinnamon Gardens. It is maintained by the Department of National Museum.
03. National Museum (04 km from the City Center)
National Museum of Colombo, also known as the Sri Lanka National Museum is one of two museums in Colombo. It is the largest museum in Sri Lanka. It is maintained by the Department of National Museum of the central government.
04. Ape gama(Our Village) – (12 km from the city center)
Apé Gama is an authentic Sri Lankan Village experience minutes from the center of Colombo. Witness life from a by gone era with other exciting attractions.
05. St. Lucia’s Cathedral – (05 km away from the Center)
St. Lucia’s Cathedral is the seat of the Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Colombo in Sri Lanka. The Cathedral is located at Kotahena, in the north east of Colombo, on 18,240 sq. ft. of land, and is dedicated to Saint Lucy.
06. Beira Lake – (03 km away from the center)
Beira Lake is a lake in the center of the city of Colombo, Sri Lanka. The lake is surrounded by many large businesses in the city. It occupied approximately 165 hectares of land 100 years ago and has been reduced to mere 65 hectares today due to various reasons. During the colonial era of the Portuguese, and the English the lake was used for a wide variety of purposes It still retains its Portuguese name. It is connected to many intricate canals providing easy way of transporting goods within the city and suburban cities.
07. National ZOO – (10 km away from the Center)
The Dehiwala National Zoo, which has a remarkable collection of exotic and indigenous fauna, is one of the oldest Zoos in Asia. The Zoo in Sri Lanka is widely known as Colombo Zoo all over the world.
Currently, Dehiwala Zoo houses 72 species of Mammals, 65 species of Birds, 31 species of Reptiles, 89 species of Fish, 03 families of Amphibians and 30 species of Butterflies etc. The total number of animals varies from 2500-3000 due to breeding and free living colonies of birds. Dehiwala Zoo has become famous among the visitors not only for collection of local and exotic animals but also for landscaping with lush greeneries. The Zoo supports and promotes conservation by breeding certain rare and endangered species through proper animal welfare.
08. Kelaniya Raja Maha Viharaya – (12 km away from the City)
Buddhists believe the temple to have been hallowed during the third and final visit of the Lord Buddha to Sri Lanka, eight years after gaining enlightenment. Its history would thus go back to before 500 BCE.
The Mahawansa records that the original Stupa at Kelaniya enshrined a gem-studded throne on which the Buddha sat and preached.
The temple is also famous for its image of the reclining Gautama Buddha and paintings by the native artist Solias Mendis which depict important events in the life of the Buddha, in the history of Buddhism in Sri Lanka, also incidents from the Jataka tales. It is the venue for the Duruthu Maha Perehera procession each January. An 18-foot stone statue of the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara has been erected at the temple.
09. Gangaramaya Buddhist Temple. (04 km away from the center)
Gangaramaya is one of the oldest Buddhist temples in Colombo, started by the famous scholar monk Hikkaduwe Sri Sumangala Nayaka Thera in the late 19th Century.
10. Galle Face Green. (.5 km Away from the City)
The Galle Face is a 5 ha (12 acres) ocean-side urban park, which stretches for 500 m (1,600 ft) along the coast, in the heart of the financial and business capital of Sri Lanka, Colombo. The promenade was initially laid out in 1859 by Governor Sir Henry George Ward, although the original Galle Face Green extended over a much larger area than is seen today. The Galle Face Green was initially used for horse racing and as a golf course, but was also used for cricket, polo, football, tennis and rugy.
11. Bandaranayaka Memorial International Conference Hall. (06 km away from the center)
BMICH is reputed for its high-quality specialized conference facilities and personalized customer service. A multi-functional complex comprising of 9 buildings, the BMICH is a complete events venue in Colombo, Sri Lanka and covers around 37 acres of landscape. This prestigious centre enjoys its status as South Asia’s top exhibition complex and is one of Asia’s most modern forum. It comprises of high-tech facilities, modern convention halls & rooms and also offers a spacious delegation room of 16,000 sq ft. With a variety of advanced technical services and facilities at its convenience, BMICH is Sri Lanka’s most popular events venue and is the place to host musical dramas, beauty pageants, conferences, exhibitions, plenary sessions and trade events.
12. Colombo Town Hall. (05 km from the center)
The Town Hall of Colombo is the headquarters of the Colombo Municipal Council and the office of the Mayor of Colombo. Built in front of the Viharamahadevi Park, Colombo, Sri Lanka, it is the meeting place for the elected municipal council.
In 1921 renowned Scottish town planner, Professor Patrick Geddes, recommended that the Council should construct a large central and dignified municipal building to house the council, a public reception hall, the mayor’s office and a public library. The need for the Colombo Public Library was addressed by a philanthropic donation of a building by Dr. W. Arthur Silva in 1925.This building, Sirinivasa, is now the official residence of the mayor.
13. Dutch Hospital (03 km away from the center)
The Old Colombo Dutch Hospital is considered to be the oldest building in the Colombo Fort area dating back to the Dutch colonial era in Sri Lanka. It is now a heritage building and a shopping and dining precinct.
14. Colombo Golf Club. (09 km away from the city Center)
Royal Colombo Golf Club or RCGC is regarded as Sri Lanka’s finest Golf club. RCGC Is Located in a residential area in the city of Colombo and Surrounded by residential areas and business establishments, the Royal Colombo Golf Club is a sanctuary situated in the heart of Colombo, Sri Lanka. In contrast to its surroundings, it is an exquisite and tranquil environment to relax, unwind and tee off.
The scenic landscape and a glimpse of the rare species of flora and fauna on the course all contribute to this pastoral environment set within its 96 acre former model farm.
15. Old Parliament House. (.2 km away from the Center)
The Old Parliament Building, is the building that houses the Presidential Secretariat of Sri Lanka. Situated in the Colombo fort facing the sea, it is in close proximity to the President’s House, Colombo. The building houses the island’s legislature for 53 years until the New Parliament Complex was opened at Sri Jayawardenepura in 1983. It is next to the General Treasury Building.
16. New Parliament of Sri Lanka. (12 km away from the center)
The Sri Lankan Parliament Complex is a public building and landmark that houses the Parliament of Sri Lanka. Situated in Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte, the administrative capital, it is built on an island, surrounded by the Diyawanna Oya. It was designed by Geoffrey Bawa.