City List

Colombo

Colombo Sri LankaColombo is the largest city and commercial capital of Sri Lanka. Located on the west coast of the island and adjacent to Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte, the administrative capital of Sri Lanka, Colombo is a busy and vibrant city with a mixture of modern life and colonial buildings and ruins and a city population of over 600,000.
Distance From Colombo : 0 km
The name "Colombo", first introduced by the Portuguese in 1505, is believed to be derived from the classical Sinhalese name Kolon thota, meaning "Port on the river Kelani". It has also been suggested that the name may be derived from the Sinhalese name Kola-amba-thota which means "Harbor with leafy mango trees".

Due to its large natural harbour and its strategic position along the East-West sea trade routes, Colombo was known to ancient traders 2,000 years ago. However it was only made the capital of the island when Sri Lanka was ceded to the British Empire in 1815, and its status as capital was retained when the nation became independent in 1948. In 1978, when administrative functions were moved to Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte, Colombo was designated as the commercial capital of Sri Lanka.

Like many cities, Colombo's urban area extends well beyond the boundaries of a single local authority, encompassing other Municipal and Urban Councils. The main city is home to a majority of the Sri Lanka's corporate offices, restaurants and entertainment venues. Famous landmarks in Colombo include the Galle Face Green, the Viharamahadevi Park as well as the National Museum.

As Colombo possesses a natural harbour, it was known to Romans, Arabs, and Chinese traders over 2,000 years ago. Traveller Ibn Batuta who visited the island in the 14th century, referred to it as Kalanpu. Arabian Muslims, whose prime interests were trade, began to settle in Colombo around the 8th century CE mostly because the port helped their business and controlled much of the trade between the Sinhalese kingdoms and the outside world. They now comprise the local Sri Lankan Moor community.

Colombo is a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural city. The population of Colombo is a mix of numerous ethnic groups, mainly Sinhalese, Moors and Tamils. There are also small communities of people with Chinese, Portuguese, Dutch, Malay and Indian origins living in the city, as well as numerous European expatriates. Colombo is the most populated city in Sri Lanka, with 642,163 people living within the city limits. According to the census of 2001 the demographics of urban Colombo by ethnicity is as follows.

Colombo was the capital of the coastal areas controlled by the Portuguese, Dutch and the British from the 1700s to the 1815 when the British gained control of the entire island following the Kandian convention. Since then till the 1980's the national capital of the island was Colombo. During the 1980's plans were made to move the administrative capital to Sri Jayawardanapura Kotte and thus move all governmental institutions out of Colombo to make way for commercial activities. As a primary setp the Parliament was moved to a new complex in Kotte and several ministries and departments were also moved. However the move was never completed. Today many governmental institutions still remain in Colombo.

These include the President's House, Presidential Secretariat, Prime Minister's House (Temple Trees), Prime Minister's Office, the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka, Central Bank of Sri Lanka, important government ministries and departments; such as Finance (Treasury), Defence, Home affairs, Foreign affairs, Public Administration, Justice and the Military headquarters, Naval headquarters (SLNS Ranagala), Air Force headquarters (SLAF Colombo) and Police national and field force headquarters.

The city is a popular fashion center in South East Asia today. The industry has evolved to meet modern standards and conducts regular shows to showcase local talent.
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