Highlighted as the commercial capital of Sri Lanka, the city of Colombo is one that brings together a blend of the island nation’s rich history and modern excitement. With each glance into the city’s rapidly shifting skyline, you can be rest assured that you will be filled with a great sense of excitement and exuberance for what the city’s future holds.
Colombo, with its name derived from the old Sinhala word Kolamba, meaning harbour or port, is home to over 5.6 million people. This western coastal city is the seat of many of the country’s longstanding political institutions and commercial establishments, which makes Colombo the one place in the country that can you can be sure to find any item or activity you are looking for. From various cuisines (local and international), to fashion outlets, pubs and clubs, and much more, everything you need can be found within these 37km2! This diversity of establishments and activities in the city is bolstered by the various cultures and ethnic groups that reside within the city – the city is home to a diverse group of ethnicitiesand religions that consists of a Sinhala-Buddhist, Tamil, Burgher, and Muslim population.The city is also home to one of the country’s largest and busiest ports, given its strategic position along the East-West sea trade routes, thereby making a night-time view of the city’s horizon a breath-taking one – with all the arriving and departing ships lit up in the distance.
Despite the metropolitan area’s fame, like most cities around the world, Colombo’s reach extends beyond a single municipal authority and into the authority of multiple urban and municipal regions and councils. These councils include the Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte Municipal Council, Dehiwala/Mount Lavinia Municipal Council, Kolonnawa Urban Council, Kaduwela Municipal Council, and the Kotikawatte/MulleriyawaPradeshiya Sabha. Unlike most parts of the country that are highly agrarian or large fishing communities with relatively low contributions to the country’s national economy, Colombo’s metropolitan area alone contributes over 40% to the national GDP. The city’s economic success is drawn from its strong commercial and business presence – bolstered by a mix of the country’s own entrepreneurial excellence, longstanding small and medium enterprises, and growing multinational investment.
Following the conclusion of the country’s three-decade long civil war, the city has seen rapid levels of development, highlighted by the recent uptick in high-rise luxury apartments and hotels. In a few years, world-renowned hospitality venues like the Grand Hyatt, Shangri-La, and architectural wonders by famed architect Moshe Safdie will grace the city’s landscape. This rapid growth will undeniably contribute to making Colombo one of the most prominent destinations in Asia and around the world, if it is not already, given the vast number of tourists that visit the country from many parts of the world. The true beauty about Colombo is that in just a matter of seconds/minutes, you could be taken from a highly urban area comprised of skyscrapers, to a region full of lush greenery and a sense of calm that you would typically expect in the country-side.
Unlike most metropolitan areas around the world, Colombo is known for its diversity in culture, cuisine, architecture, activities, and landscape. You are probably looking to visit Sri Lanka to check out the gorgeous sandy beaches or breath-taking hilltop views, but one day in Colombo will take your breath away in ways that you never thought possible.Check out the other sections below for more interesting and region-specific information on the city!