Colombo is the business and commercial center and the new capital is Sri Jayawardhanapura Kotte, only a few miles away. Colombo was only a small seaport, which came into prominence in the 16th Century with the arrival of the Portuguese in 1505 and the development of it as a major Harbour took place during the British period. Colombo became the capital of Sri Lanka in 1815 after Kandyan Kingdom was ceded to the British.
The remains of the buildings during the period of the Portuguese, Dutch and British rule are found in every area of the city.
None of the Portuguese & Dutch fortifications are found today but some of their buildings and churches could be seen in the Fort & Pettah areas.
Visit Fort, the former British administrative center and military garrison, Sea Street – the Goldsmith’s quarters in the heart of Pettah, the Bazaar area where there is also a Hindu Temple with elaborate stone carvings, the Kayman’s Gate with the Belfry at the original gate to enter the Fort, the Dutch Church of Wolfendhaal dating back to 1749, Kelaniya Buddhist Temple dating to 6th C.B.C., Davatagaha Mosque, Colombo Museum and the Natural History Museum are some of the sites to be visited. Also visit the BMICH (Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall), see the replica of Avukana Buddha in front and the Independence Memorial.