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Colombo Holidays Overview

While not the official capital of Sri Lanka, Colombo is considered to be its capital of arts, trade and tourism. Its size overshadows the real capital, Sri Jayawardenapura Kotte, with its mix of politics, business and culture. It is Sri Lanka’s largest city. The Port of has a rich history that extends back over 2,000 years. The colonial heritage of the city, its shopping and dining options and its urban feel attracts a large number of tourists.

Colombo has many distinctive landmarks that highlight the city's history. Jami Ul-Alfar Mosque is one of the most popular tourist sites in the city. St Paul's Church is one of the oldest in the country. Colombo's most elegant and largest promenade is Galle Face Green. Located at the heart of Colombo, the promenade is lined with swaying palm trees and is always busy.

Colombo has a very diverse range of architectural styles including contemporary, Indian, Islamic, Hindu, Buddhist, British, Dutch and Portuguese. The Fort is where this is most notable where historic buildings stand next to skyscrapers. Not much is left of the Colombo Fort today but it is still an important monument of the city.

Colombo still has many buildings dating back to the Dutch colony. These include the Colombo Dutch Museum, the fort and many churches.

The National Museum of Colombo in Cinnamon Gardens of the city was established in 1877 and showcases beautiful crown jewels. The Colombo Dutch Museum is also popular since it showcases the history of the Dutch colony in the country.

Among the many festivals that are celebrated in Colombo, the most beautiful is the celebration of Buddha's death, enlightenment and birth, all on the same day. The festival is known locally as Vesak. Locals celebrate the occasion by decorating the city with light displays and lanterns.

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Colombo holidays - Top Places To Go

1. National Museum
Sir Marcus Fernando Mawatha
What is it? Sri Lanka's oldest museum was established in 1877 and today boasts a massive collection of antiques and objects d'art, encompassing the cultural heritage of the island. Exhibits include artefacts from archaeological sites all over Sri Lanka, and more than 4,000 ancient palm leaf manuscripts. Among the exhibits is displayed the regalia of the Kandyan Kings dating back to the 17th century. Alongside the archaeological museum in Ananda Coomaraswamy Mawatha is the Natural History Museum, which features the island's fauna and flora in dioramas. The dual museums are a good introduction for visitors interested in discovering the culture and 2,500-year history of the island. Hours of Operation: Daily 9am to 5pm. Closed Fridays Phone:(0)1 2697467-8



2. Pettah

What is it? Colombo's bazaar district, the Pettah, presents a real treat for shopaholics who can wander through the hustle and bustle of whole streets dedicated to selling a particular type of merchandise, from local handcrafts to brand name clothing. The area was once an exclusive residential area filled with stately homes and large gardens in gas-lit streets. A relic of the colonial era, the Dutch House Museum, is open to the public on Prince Street. The mansion house dates from the 17th century and was the residence of Count August Carl Van Ranzow. It has now been restored and stands among the traders and boutiques as a museum displaying the life and times of the Dutch occupation, its exhibits including furniture, ceramics, coins and all the trappings of daily life at the time. Hours of Operation: Dutch House Museum open daily 9am to 5pm; closed Fridays Phone:



3. Zoological Gardens
In Dehiwala, south of the city
What is it? Colombo's zoo has a fine collection of animals, birds, reptiles and fish from all over the world, but in particular showcases the fauna of the island. The complex includes an aquarium, which is the only one of its kind in Asia displaying more than 500 varieties of aquatic life. There is also a walk-through aviary, reptile enclosure and butterfly park. One of the most popular attractions at the zoo are the daily elephant shows, which take place at 5.15pm. Hours of Operation: Daily 8am to 6pm Phone:



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About This Page

Information on Colombo Holidays, Colombo Hotels, Holiday Packages in Colombo (city breaks, short stays, all inclusive and luxury deals). Also provides links and resources to Air Travel, Flights and Colombo Car Hire Options

Holidays Travel Guide content part sourced rom, copyright © Globe Media Ltd. By its very nature much of the information contained in the travel guide is subject to change at short notice. Travellers are urged to verify information on which they're relying with the relevent authorities. We cannot accept any responsibility for any loss or inconvenience to a person as result of information contained above.