Colombo Heritage, History and Culture Experience

Sri Lanka has a rich heritage, thanks to its history of over 3000 years. The city of Colombo however, has a much shorter history. It grew in prominence only after the Portuguese arrived in the city in 1505 AD, and turned it into a major colonial outpost in the South Asian region. Colombo’s colonial history is not just written in the history books, but also in the landscape of the city. Here are some interesting places to visit of you are fascinated by the history and cultural heritage of foreign lands.

Museums in Colombo

Sri Lanka has a wonderfully captivating past that is bound to interest anyone who is interested in history and heritage. There are a number of museums in Colombo that offer interesting insights into life in ancient Sri Lanka when kings ruled the land, as well as after the island was colonized by the Portuguese, Dutch and British. Start your day with a visit to one or more of these.

Places of Worship

The harbor in Colombo functioned as a trading port for many years before the Portuguese discovered the island in the 16 th century. Ancient Arab and Indian merchants arrived at the port for trading purposes and settled in and around the port, creating the first semblance of a city. Naturally, their culture and faith started influencing the city. This resulted in the establishment of Islam and Hinduism in the Buddhist dominated country. After the country was colonized by the Portuguese, Dutch and British, the Christian faiths of Catholicism and Protestantism too were added to the mix. Colombo’s diverse temples, churches, mosques and kovils provide an insight into the city’s past as a cultural melting pot.

Pettah & Colombo Fort

The post-colonial period saw Colombo transforming into an eclectic mix of European culture interwoven with native and immigrant traditions, and the neighbourhoods of Pettah and Fort are some of the best places that showcase this. The area was developed by the Portuguese, Dutch and British for trade, commerce and security. Today, the hustle and bustle of the commercial district of Colombo blend in well with the old colonial architecture.