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Updated by Joanna James on Oct 06, 2022
Headline for Famous Churches in Negombo – The 'Little Rome of Sri Lanka'
Joanna James Joanna James
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Famous Churches in Negombo – The 'Little Rome of Sri Lanka'

Negombo is a sunny coastal resort on the north-western edge of Sri Lanka. Closest to the international airport, this town has a strong Portuguese colonial heritage, hence the vintage churches.


St Mary's Church

One of the largest cathedrals on the island, St Mary's Church with its pink exterior walls, is an iconic landmark in Negombo. Connected to the Puttalam – Colombo main road, the church is located on Main Street. Easy to reach from Arie Lagoon, a little over 6 km away, and other closely located Negombo resorts, this church dates back to 1874 but was only completed in 1922. The architecture and artwork within the church is a marvellous amalgamation of European and traditional Sri Lankan styles. Built under a Neo-classic architectural flair, the church's ceiling is painted with images of Christ's life, while the walls on the upper levels sport mounted sculptures of saints. Paintings on the nave have been called 'thunderous' due to its stunning quality, plus one of the altars is a vintage European, having been shipped down to the island with funds from a private donation.


St Sebastian's Church

This is one of Sri Lanka's most beautiful churches. Located on Sea Street, St Sebastian's is easy to reach from as centrally located Negombo resort. Bearing a strong resemblance to the Reims Cathedral of France, this Gothic style structure was designed by Fr. G. Gannon. Do make time to visit this beautiful church when spending time in Negombo and you won't be disappointed.


Duwa Church

This church is very famous for its annual Easter Passion play; sitting beside the mighty Negombo Lagoon in the quiet village of Duwa, the church is a sanctuary to a vintage statue of Christ, which has a fascinating story behind its golden tint. Today the Easter Passion play is a legend across the island and is performed with the aid of over 250 actors, adapting many roles; although at first no actors were used to play the part of Mother Mary and Christ. The church and its surroundings are truly spectacular as is the charming village of Duwa.


St Stephen's Church

St Stephen's Church of Negombo is an Anglican church; consecrated in 1880, this church also offered a Sinhala service, in the then island of Ceylon, which was still under the British colonists at the time. The place chosen to build the church was previously known as the Dutch Fort, and it was the Bishop of Colombo who obtained the Crown Grant for the construction of the church. Built to emulate Gothic Revival architectural styling's, the interior sports a large number of windows, through which sunlight pours in. There is a belfry and vestry too; which were added at a later date. Do take along the cameras for the calm and serene surroundings are truly remarkable. Also do check out St. Peters Church, which has an equally fascinating history and architecture to explore.