Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka and largest city and main port of the country, combines all the colors and cultures that make up the island, blending them into a mosaic of markets, gardens and buildings of all kinds, all close to a narrow strip of waterfront. Many visitors enjoy what remains of the city’s colonial past, its fine restaurants, colorful shops and the typical urban vitality that contrasts a bit ‘with the rest of the country, predominately rural. Others get tired quickly exhaust and banal modern buildings that can be seen in Galle Road, the main city street. Certainly Columbus is the center, political, economic and cultural life of Sri Lanka, so if you are looking for something you’re in the right place.
The story of Columbus has its roots in the fifth century, when the village was a transit station in the maritime trade between Asia and the West. In the eighth century, Arab traders settled near the harbor, and in 1505 the Portuguese arrived. Towards the middle of the seventeenth century the Dutch had already occurred, who cultivated the cinnamon in the area now known as Cinnamon Gardens, but it was only with the arrival of the English that this center became a real city, so much so that in 1815 Columbus was proclaimed capital of Ceylon. In the 70s of the nineteenth century were built the breakwater, draining the surrounding swamps, was created the Fort district. Colombo was surrendered peacefully when Sri Lanka gained independence in 1948, and in 1982 was built a new parliament in the suburb Peripheral-Kotte Sri Jayawardenepura.
Colombo is divided into fifteen districts, each with its own zip code. Eye of the visitor, the city is virtually a long coastline that stretches for about 12 kilometers south of the downtown area, Fort, whose backbone is Galle Rd Although some argue that in Colombo there is nothing to see, Most tourists find many ways to spend time in the city. The Fort district is one in which they are focused almost all sites of historical interest, as is the Pettah area of the markets and bazaars. Almost everything else, including temples and churches, is rather sparse patchy for the city.
During European rule was really a strong Fort, surrounded by sea on two sides and with a ditch along the two sides joined to the mainland. Today is a curious mix of modern buildings like the World Trade Center, a venerable red-brick structures as the Cargills and Millers and buildings dating from various periods. The whole area is subject to strict security measures and is largely inaccessible to vehicles, sometimes even to pedestrians. Some areas of the Fort are strangely silent, but along side it’s on York St Cargills there are still vendors selling everything from alarm clocks to fluorescent padded bra. At Fort is also a port, inaccessible to visitors, and the large white dagoba or stupa Sambodhi Chaitiya, built on stilts about 20 feet off the ground. A good landmark in Fort is the clock tower located at the intersection of Chatham St and Janadhipathi Mawatha, formerly known as Queen St, which was originally a lighthouse.
Adjacent to Fort and slightly to the inside is the bustling bazaars of Pettah, which is one of the oldest districts of Colombo and one of the areas with the greatest ethnic diversity across the country. Whatever you look at Pettah there is definitely some shop or stall in a position to satisfy your desires. Every road seems to have its own specialty: Gabo’s Lane and St Cross 5th specialize in Ayurvedic medicine, while along the 2nd Cross St usual chain of jewelry stores. In former times the major holidays such as Christmas, the crowd of Pettah can reach biblical proportions. If the crowd of people you do not care, day poya, or the days of “full moon”, have a great time to come take a look around. Another important attraction of the area is the Dutch Period Museum, the former residence of the seventeenth-century Dutch governor later converted into a museum. In addition to the charming garden behind the museum boasts the Dutch colonial period furniture and other artifacts quite important.
Among the attractions scattered ‘around the city include: the National Museum, housed in a fine vintage in Viharamahadevi Park, which houses a collection of ancient royal regalia, Sinhalese artwork, furniture and porcelain and the Galle Face Green, a long strip of green that overlooks the sea south of Fort and the Cinnamon Gardens, the most exclusive district of Colombo , situated about 5 km south of Fort inward and 2, the National Art Gallery, adjacent to the Natural History Museum, which boasts a rich collection of portraits, the Dehiwala Zoo, the zoo opened 70 years ago that is relatively well their animals, and beautiful Buddhist temples of Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara, Gangaramaya, Seema Malakaya , and Vajiraramaya Gotami Vihara. As for the temples of the Hindus are the most significant New Kathiresan Kovil, the Old Kathiresan Kovil, Sri Ponnambalam Kovil Vanesar, Muthumariamman Sri Kovil and Sri Siva Subramaniam Swami Kovil.
Between festivals and major events include: the Duruthu Perahera, held in the days of poya January at the Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara, the Navam Perahera poya of February, usually led by 50 elephants and Vel, during which The golden chariot of Murugan (Skanda), the Hindu god of war, was ceremoniously driven by Kathiresan Kovil in Sea St in Pettah to the Bambalapitiya Kovil. In terms of climate, the dry season, and therefore the best, runs from December to March, the period which also saw the largest presence of foreign tourists, especially Europeans escaping winter. In general, however, the climate of Colombo is good for most of the year, average temperatures were mild and sporadic rainfall so as unpredictable.
Colombo is the point of entry into Sri Lanka for those arriving from abroad, as well as the center of the island’s road and rail network. It will seem easier from Colombo by train than by bus, even if the trains are generally less frequent and a bit ‘more expensive than buses. The airport of Colombo for domestic flights is the Ratmalana Air Force Base, south of Mt Lavinia, for which there is no public transport. The Bandaranaike International Airport is located instead in Katunayake, 30 km north of the city and about 2 kilometers east of Colombo-Negombo road, and is served by some international airline.
Originally posted 2012-07-26 16:38:00.