THE CAPITAL OF SRI LANKA
Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka, has a long history as a port on ancient east-west trade routes, ruled successively by the Portuguese, Dutch and British. That heritage is reflected in its its architecture, mixing colonial buildings with high-rises and shopping malls. The imposing Colombo National Museum, dedicated to Sri Lankan history, borders sprawling Viharamahadevi Park and its giant Buddha.
The vibrant, jam-packed Pettah bazaar district's thousands of vendors offer everything from spices and tea to textiles and jewelry. Galle Face Green is an oceanside promenade popular for picnicking and strolling. The city's diverse religious landmarks range from the ornate, red-and-white-striped Jami Ul-Alfar Mosque and the historic Dutch Reformed Wolvendaal Church to the Buddhist Gangaramaya Temple complex. International matches of cricket, Sri Lanka's national passion, are played at Premadasa Stadium. The city is also a major hopping-off point for beaches in the island nation's south.