Colombo, city in western Sri Lanka and a major port near the mouth of the
Kelani River.Western is an Area in Colombo.
Colombo is a relatively easy city to find your way around. To the
north is the Fort district, the country's business centre, which has department
stores, book shops, airline offices and is the site of the Central Bank which
the Tamil Tigers blew up in January 1996. There are also ample sights such as
the clock tower, a former lighthouse, the president's residence and a cluster of
colonial buildings which lend the district an aura of bygone Empire.
Colombo is the capital city and the commercial centre of Sri Lanka, filled
with shopping centres and all modern facilities. The city has an eclectic blend
of old and new, traditional and modern, Eastern and Western.Colombo; is noisy,
frenetic - and just a little crazy.
Colombo is the largest city in the country and owes its importance largely to
its great breakwaters, which give shelter to a large, artificially created
harbor. Beira Lake, administratively part of the port of Colombo, is connected
with the harbor by a canal and locks. Colombo handles most of the foreign trade
of Sri Lanka and is an important fueling station. Manufactures of the city
include metal goods, textiles, clothing, and chemicals. The business section of
Colombo, called the Fort, occupies the sites of the former fortified area. Broad
avenues and modern buildings contrast with the narrow, crooked streets and
ramshackle structures of the Pettah quarter. Among the hospitals is the Pasteur
Institution. Places of worship include Christian churches, Muslim mosques, and
Sheltered from the South-west Monsoon by a barely perceptible promontory
jutting out into the sea, Colombo's bay was an important site for Muslim traders
before the colonial period. However, it is essentially a colonial city, whose
rise to pre-eminence did not start until the 19th century and the establishment
of British power. Before that it was a much less important town than Galle, but
when the British took control of Kandy and encouraged the development of
commercial estates, the Island's economic center of gravity moved north. The
capital, Colombo offered two east routes into the Kandyan highlands.