Colombo is the Commercial Capital of Sri Lanka, located in the Western Province. The greater Colombo area has rich multinational traditions of many religious and ethnic groups. The World’s most modern facilities are available in the city. Most of the five star hotels, Banks, Airline Offices, Shopping Complexes, Harbour and Night Life events are in and around the city. Colombo harbour is one of the largest artificial harbours in the world and handles the majority of Sri Lanka’s foreign trade. Arab traders had been settled near the site of the port in the 8th century AD. From the 16th century onwards, the port was developed by the Portuguese, the Dutch and the British, who in turn established themselves on the coasts of the island. In 1815 the British captured the entire island and Colombo became the capital of the island. Sri Lanka gained its independence in 1948.
The Independence Square is a national monument built to commemorate gaining independence from the British in 1948. This is a public place and popular for jogging. Many residents of Colombo can be seen jogging here. The area is generally crowded after work, around 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm.
Arcade Independence Square
The Arcade Independence Square is a masterpiece of colonial architecture resurrected by the Urban Development Authority. The new development is part of Sri Lanka’s progress towards its vision to become the “Wonder of Asia”. The arcade has been renovated into a modern Shopping Complex while the colonial style and ambience have been preserved. The Empire Cineplex at the Arcade Independence Square is Ceylon Theatre’s flagship boutique cinema and sets a new standard in the cinema and entertainment industry.
The old race course in Cinnamon Garden Colombo-07, which was neglected for a long time has been modernized and opened for public with facilities of a pavilion, restaurants, a stationery shop, branded dress boutiques, sports items shops, handy crafts and gift shops. Originally this had been opened for race horsing in 1893.
Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall (BMICH)
The Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall is an outright gift from the People’s Republic of China to Sri Lanka. This had been gifted in memory of late S W R D Bandaranaike, the third Prime Minister of Sri Lanka. This building accommodates many state and private offices with facilities and with plenty of parking spaces. BMICH provides high quality specialized conference facilities. This multi-functional complex is comprises with 09 buildings over a 37 acres of land.
Nelum Pokuna – Mahinda Rajapaksa Theatre
Nelum Pokuna (Lotus Pond) is a five storied building comprising a main theatre with seating capacity of 1,288 seats, open air theatre on the top floor. The theatre houses a three tier movable stage, two exhibition halls, thirteen rehearsal halls, parking facilities for 500 vehicles, library and training facilities. The building has been put up to international standards and the best in the Asia.
A massive whit building with a huge dome facing the Viharamahadevi Park (Victoria Park). It was built in 1927 and houses various offices of the Colombo Municipality. This was originally meant to house the office of the mayor and the council chamber.
Viharamahadevi Park (Victoria Park)
The largest park in central Colombo. Located next to the Town Hall. The name Victoria Park was changed after independence in 1948, but is still used occasionally. Viharamadevi was the mother of the great King Dutugemunu. This park is crowded every evening. There is a children’s Park at the town Hall end, but the entrance is from Dharmapala Mawatha. The Public Library is adjoining the Park.
Colombo National Museum
This magnificent museum housed in a large white colonial period building with an imposing facade was opened in 1877. Exhibits include various sculptures from all over the island, royal costumes and ornamentation, weaponry and the throne and other regalia of the last King of Kandy, Sri Vikrama Rajasinja.
Beira Lake is located in the middle of Colombo. This lake was built by Portuguese and the lake was connected with many water ways. Portuguese used theses water ways as their transportation routes. The water level of the lake is about one meter high from the ocean.
Galle Face Green
A well known place where people visit in the evening to relax or for jogging. The weekends are full with families and you can see many stalls offering exotic food. Most of the people who visit Colombo from remote villages, especially school children do not miss visiting here and they like to get on to the beach. This is the start Galle road from Colombo. Walking towards fort, you could see the Old Parliament Building and the World Trade Center.
Old Parliament Building
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 Jayawardenapura in 1983.
Royal Colombo Golf Club
The Royal Colombo Golf club is a 18 hole court, situated in the heart of Colombo (Model Farm Road, Colombo-08, adjoining road of Borella Cemetery) surrounded by residential area. This was founded over 130 years ago and being the second oldest Royal Golf Club outside the United Kingdom and is the oldest in Sri Lanka.
Colombo fort is the major commercial center of the country and houses major offices, five star hotels, shops, airline offices, banks, general post office, travel agents and restaurants. Within fort there are several places of tourist interest, which can be conveniently seen on foot.
Old Dutch Hospital Building
Old Dutch Hospital Building converted to a shopping precinct with six shopping stalls including a restaurant, leisure and relaxation area. This is occupied by number outlets of high end brands whilst protecting the archaeological value of the building. The building reflects 17th Century Dutch colonial architecture.
This is wonder place to relax and unwind. During lunch time the premises is packed with those from the surrounding offices, the best time to visit would be in the morning, late afternoon or evening.
Dutch Period Museum
This museum is housed in a large mansion in prince street, Pettah said to have belonged to the Dutch Governor, Thomas Van Rhee. Among the exhibits are antique furniture, glassware, cooking items, weaponry, coins and even some old tombstones, all belonging to the Dutch period.
Pettah – Colombo Bazar
There are wide varieties of shopping complexes within the Colombo city. If you are looking for goods for cheaper prices Pettah bazaar is the ideal location. Pettah bazaar is always busy and crowded. You can buy almost anything you want from shops down streets. Each cross lane of Pettah leads to the main street and each has developed its own specialized characteristics. Household goods are found on Keyzer Street, Prince Street is famous for glass, mirrors and electrical items. Malwatte Road sells English, Sinhala and Tamil music Cassettes and Leather products. Maliban Street has paper and paper products, Main Street has Sarees and all clothing items.
Gem and Gold Centre
Sri Lanka’s first Gem and Gold Centre consisting of 83 outlets is located the refurbished Central Super Market in Pettah. This market was earlier known as the Fish Market. Other than the 83 jewellery shops there are restaurants, banking facilities and a customer service centre operated by Gem and Jewellery Authority. This is also a part of the Colombo Development Project.
Floating Market – Colombo
The floating market at the Bastian Road, Pettah is a part of Colombo Development Project. This is Sri Lanka’s first and only floating market on a branch of the Beira Lake facing the Bastian Road. There are 92 stalls, several stalls have been established on boats which sells locally produced goods including handicraft, vegetables and also have restaurant and public convenience facilities. Floating market was declared open on 25th August 2014.
The Parliament of Sri Lanka
The Sri Lankan Parliament Complex (also known as the New Parliament Complex) is a public building and landmark that houses the Parliament of Sri Lanka. Situated in Sri Jayawardenapura Kotte, the administrative capital, it is built on an island, surrounded by the Diyawanna Oya. It was designed by Deshamanya Geoffrey Bawa.
This is at Gramodaya Folk Art Centre, Parliament Road, Battaramulla. It is funded by the Government to support and showcase Sri Lankan Art such as wood work, wood carving, leather work, batik and material painting, lace work, pottery, lapidary and handloom weaving. This village is spacious and pleasant for a visit and to spend some time. You can also taste some good Sri Lankan meals here.
This is a place on the banks of the Diyawanna Oya, Battaramulla, with a peaceful environment, suitable for a family outing, maybe a picnic, or even for those looking for a quiet place to read books and papers. The park is built on a marshy land between the Parliament Complex and the Diyawanna Oya at the Polduwa junction, to enhance the beauty of the city of Sri Jayawardenapura. Among the many food outlets and the restaurants at the park the floating restaurant too provide a variety of foods and drinks at competitive prices. The Floating Restaurant is a hospitality venture operated by Sri Lanka Navy and is well equipped. It is also ideal for receptions, weddings and corporate events.
Gangaramaya is a colourful temple near the Beira Lake. The temple complex is home to a resident tusker and a small museum housing an electric collection of gifts and religious items. This temple becomes very lively during the Navam Perahera in February.
St. Lucia Church
A huge Roman Catholic Church Kotahena, begun in 1876 but it has completed in 1910. The building has a classical facade with a large forecourt and is said to contain the tombs of three French Bishops.
Dewatagaha Mosque – Cinnamon Gardens
A Muslim shrine in Cinnamon Gardens near the Town Hall, is connected with a Muslim saint named Shayku Uthman Siddiqui who is said to have arrived in the island to propagate faith.