The city of Colombo inherits an antiquity of more than five centuries. Its origins as the commercial capital commences with the occupation of the Portuguese in 1505 followed by the Dutch and finally the British. Colombo is the center of the densely populated western province and the largest city in Sri Lanka. It is also the financial and commercial capital and almost all the major economic activities are centered here. When historical evidences are taken into consideration the city has developed in four different stages, namely Fort, Pettah, New Bazaar and suburban areas. The nomenclature Fort perhaps now misleading as there is no fortification to be seen in the city. The Dutch fortification existed have been removed by the British in the 19th century to ease the congestion the city centre.
According to tradition the sacred feet of the Buddha once trod at Kelaniya temple. The Buddha believed to have graced Kelaniya on his third visit to the island and had bathed in the Kelani River which is flowing by the side of the temple.
Among the places of Christian worship in Colombo, Wolvendaal church is one of the oldest. Wolvendaal means the Dale of Wolves. The massive building constructed in baroque style has a ground plan prepared in the form of a cross. The inscription above the gateway records that the construction of the building was commenced in 1749.
12 Kilometers to the south from Colombo on the road to Galle locates the beach resort of Mt.Lavinia. It lies alongside a wind–swept headland jutting into the waters of the Indian Ocean. With its white sand and calm waves, Mt. Lavinia has become a popular bathing spot. The building is a former Governor’s house built in 1805 by Sir Thomas Maitland, has now been converted into the famous Mt. Lavinia Hotel.