Colombo is located on the west coast of the island and is the financial center of Sri Lanka and a popular tourist destination. Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte, the legislative capital of Sri Lanka is within the urban area of Colombo and hence Colombo is often referred as the capital of Sri Lanka.
The population of Colombo metropolitan is around 5.6 million. Colombo is a multi-religious, multi-ethnic, multi-cultural city. The population of Colombo is a mix of numerous ethnic groups, mainly Sinhalese, Sri Lankan Tamils, and Sri Lankan Moor.
Colombo was known to the international traders 2000 years ago because of it’s large harbour and its strategic position along East–West sea trade routes. It was made the capital of the island by the British, when Sri Lanka was captured by the British Empire in 1815.
The name ‘Colombo’, was first introduced by the Portuguese in 1505, and is believed to be derived from the classical Sinhala name Kolon thota.
Colombo’s geography is a mix of land and water. The city has many canals and the 65-hectare Beira Lake is found in the heart of the city. Colombo features a tropical monsoon climate.
The following are the main attractions of Colombo:
- Galle Face Green (located in the heart of the city along the Indian Ocean coast)
- The Galle Face hotel
- Gangaramaya Temple
- Viharamahadevi Park (Victoria Park: The oldest and the largest park in Colombo)
- National Museum of Colombo
- Town Hall