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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Headline for 05 Interesting Facts About Colombo – The Quintessential City by the Sea
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05 Interesting Facts About Colombo – The Quintessential City by the Sea

Colombo is a beautiful coastal city, which is also one of Asia's most cosmopolitan hubs. Harbouring fascinating relics from the colonial era, the city is a hodgepodge of beguiling encounters.


Colombo Will Always Remain a Capital

Colombo may no longer be the nation's capital, but it will always function as the 'commercial capital'. It is the island's financial hub, and one of the most popular tourist precincts. Located on the western coast of Sri Lanka, the suburb of Colombo, Sri Jayewardenepura is the country's legislative capital.


Named By the Portuguese

Colombo was named by the Portuguese colonists; in 1505. The name is a Sinhalese derivation, which translates to port on the River Kelani. The Kelani is one of the islands four main rivers, and is the main source of water for the city; the river meanders around the city and suburbs, before heading to the sea at a point in the city known as Modara.


Seaside Fun is Always on the Cards

Colombo is a port city; bordered by the Indian Ocean on one side, hence, it is possible to enjoy relaxing beach vibes, after a few hours' drive from the city centre. Precincts like Mt. Lavinia, just 20 minutes away, offer a wide expanse of beach, and lots of beach restaurants, for enjoying an evening out. However, if you wish to settle down and relax in rustic environs, just minutes from the city centre, a hotel in Wattala, would be the perfect choice. Not only is the suburb close to the airport, you can rest and relax at beachfront properties such as Pegasus Reef Hotel. Most tourists choose this option, as heading into the city from these quite laid back abodes is a breeze.


Religion is a Focal Point

Culture buffs will find a number of Buddhist temples are located throughout the city; ideal for experiencing age old rituals, and devotees at prayer, shrines such as, the Gangaramaya are not only holistic environs but beautiful complexes, which one cannot help but admire. There you will come across Buddhist paintings, intricate brass figurines and beautiful stone carvings. Once done admiring the main temple, head across the road and take the small bridge to the meditation centre which sits on the Beira Lake. Designed by Sri Lanka's illustrious architect Geoffrey Bawa, this serene shrine is perfect for quiet contemplations amidst beautiful surroundings.


Colombo is a Shopper's Paradise

Colombo is very kind to the shopaholic; offering one a range of experiences to indulge in. You can buy the latest in high-end designer wear, the best in high street fashion, chic local designer garments and accessories, as well as, the most intricate and fascinating traditional handicrafts. Choices are galore in terms of souvenirs, with intricately created wooden masks, silver and brass creations such as, ornaments, tea sets, mirrors etc. and gem studded jewellery which are simply irresistible.


Explore the Museum

The Colombo Museum is housed in a beautiful Italian style vintage mansion. The place is a virtual treasure trove of artefacts, which number over 200,000. On display are ancient weapons, royal garments, jewellery, crowns and even a throne. Exhibits which showcase the Neanderthal era of Sri Lanka, show you how these tribes, hunted and dressed, while the expansive lawns surrounding the museum, makes one forget they are right smack in the middle of a bustling city.

  • A true believer that the pen is a mighty weapon, ventures into reaching the minds of every reader with the earnest hope of leaving an indelible stream of thought.

    A travel writer who has a passion for fashion and a deep interest in admiring new and exotic attractions around the world.

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