Culture of Colombo. Places to visit - old town, temples, theaters, museums and palaces

One of the most visited areas among visitors to Colombo is the historic Colombo Fort. In the middle of the 16th century, when the city was occupied by the Portuguese, the powerful fortress along with many ancillary structures was built here. The fort has not been preserved to this day, but some other old buildings have remained intact. At the end of the 19th century, the historic district was rebuilt. During this period, the remaining part of the fortress walls was demolished. Despite the abundance of modern buildings that today surround this area, it still retains its historical appearance. Many old buildings today house shopping centers, stores, and restaurants, which makes walking around the area even more exciting.
1. The best time to visit Colombo is the period from May to September. The air temperature is high all year round, its average value here is about 27 °C. At other times of the year, it … Open
Unique attractions are at every step here, and the most recognizable one is the Old Lighthouse. The height of this square clock tower is 29 meters, its construction was completed in 1856. The lighthouse had been used for its intended purpose until 1952. Later it was obstructed by modern buildings and it ceased to be important as a navigation landmark. Not far from the lighthouse is the beautiful Buddhist stupa Sambodhi Chaithya. It has long lost its original religious significance and today is considered just a valuable architectural monument. Inside, the shrine is skilfully decorated with murals depicting the motifs from the life of the Buddha. On top of the stupa there is an excellent observation deck.
Colombo can offer many interesting museums. In the historic area, you can visit the Colombo Maritime Museum. This maritime museum's collection is very unusual, containing unique historical artifacts that were raised from the seabed off the coast of Colombo. Here one can see stone slabs, which are fragments of destroyed ancient buildings, antique bottles and statues, as well as examples of old ship equipment. Of particular value are models of old frigates and ships, as well as equipment that was used for the ocean exploration many years ago. Copyright
Besides Buddhist sites, there are many interesting Christian monuments that were built at the dawn of the colonial era of Sri Lanka. In the historic area, one can find St. Peters Church, whose construction was completed in 1700. The very first chapel on its site was built much earlier. At the end of the 17th century, one of the wealthy governors built a posh house on the site of the destroyed chapel. The building housing the church today used to hold solemn banquets and celebrations. Later it was converted into a church, the main parishioners of which were local fishermen and sailors. Now there is a small viewing platform on the second floor of the building.
Kelaniya Temple (Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara) Among the Hindu attractions, it is worth noting the temple complex Kathiresan Kovil. It consists of two temples whose facades feature a stunning design. They are almost completely covered with miniature fine sculptures, which together form a unique artistic canvas. The temples are remarkable for holding ceremonies and festivals, which are always open to the public.
The most lively shopping area in Colombo is Pettah. In fact, it is one huge market. It can be difficult to move around this place due to the abundance of stalls and crowds of people. The … Open
The Dutch Period Museum with a very diverse exposition introduces Colombo's guests to the events of the colonial past. The colonization of the region by the Dutch began in 1658 and lasted until 1796. All the exhibits collected in the museum belong to this period. It presents old weapon and coin collections, you can see old household items and even tombstones that were brought here from old colonial cemeteries. An interesting collection of historical documents is kept in the museum.
Burma Sri Lanka Among the preserved Muslim landmarks, Jami-Ul-Alfar Mosque stands out. The facade of this mosque is colored in white and red, which makes it one of the most noticeable architectural monuments in town. The mosque was built in 1909, its architecture is considered quite sophisticated. Many refined turrets, mosaic design elements and carved columns, beautiful arched openings, and porticos - many exquisite decoration elements can be seen on the mosque's facade.
Colombo is one of the largest ports of the Middle Asia. This city is full of unexpected contrasts and is very good for travellers who seek solitude rest. According to one of versions, the … Open
The famous Grand Mosque Colombo is also located in the city. Since its completion in the 16th century, it has been the largest in Sri Lanka. Over the hundreds of years, the mosque has been repeatedly rebuilt, so today nothing has survived from its original appearance. However, it remains a very revered religious object for local residents. Only followers of the Muslim faith can get inside the mosque, all the rest can admire its beautiful exterior.
In the section below, you can get one of our excursion, activities or city discovery tours over Colombo and surroundings. Our website offers 10-30% lower ticket prices, when compared to the offline purchase on the spot.

City tours, excursions and tickets in Colombo and surroundings

Colombo - guide chapters 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

What to visit during two-day excursion in Colombo

City Tour
Telephone: +94 (0)11 281 4700;
The National Museum
Where: Sir Marcus Fernando Mw, Colombo 7, Colombo; Telephone: +94 (0)11 269 4366;
Seema Malaka Buddhist Temple
Where: Beira Lake, via Sir James Peiris Mw, Colombo 2, Colombo;
National Art Gallery
Where: 106 Anananda Kumaraswamy Mw, Colombo 7, Colombo;
Viharamahadevi Park
Where: Cinnamon Gardens, Colombo 7, Colombo;
The Pettah
Where: A few minutes east of Fort in Colombo 11, Colombo;
Dutch Period Museum
Where: Prince Street, Colombo 11, Colombo; Telephone: +94 (0)11 2448 466;
Galle Face Green
Where: South of Fort along the coast, Colombo;
Lionel Wendt Theatre and Art Gallery
Where: Guildford Crescent, Colombo 7, Colombo; Telephone: +94 (0)11 269 5794;
Reference information
Map of all churches
Cathedrals and basilicas near Colombo
♥   Basilica of Our Lady of Lanka, Tewatta, 14.9 km from the center. On the map   Photo
♥   Ss. Peter and Paul Cathedral, Ratnapura, 67.4 km from the center. On the map   Photo
♥   St. Mary’s Cathedral, Chilaw, 72.1 km from the center. On the map   Photo
♥   Cathedral of St. Anne, Kurunegala, 83.9 km from the center. On the map   Photo

Excursions over cultural sights of neighbours of Colombo

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