Negombo is a major city in Sri Lanka, on the west coast of the island and at the mouth of the Negombo Lagoon, in Western Province, Sri Lanka. It is the second largest city in the Western province after Colombo. Negombo is also the administrative capital of the Negombo Division. It is one of the major commercial hubs in Sri Lanka with about 128,000 inhabitants within city limits. It is approximately 35 km north of Colombo City. Negombo is known for its huge and old fishing industry with busy fish markets and sandy beaches. The international airport of Sri Lanka is in Negombo Metropolis. More than 60% of people living in here are Catholics. The Katunayake Airport was named as Negombo, but now Katunayake is a suburb of Negombo. Negombo is a modest beach town located close to Bandaranaike International Airport. Negombo is a much easier place to get your Sri Lankan feet than Colombo.
Negombo Fish Market
The Negombo Fish Market is the second largest fish market in the Island. The local people call it Llelama. The fish market is situated near the Old Dutch Fort Gate and held every day except Sundays. According to the statistics of the Sri Lankan Fisheries Department, Negombo fish production is about 8.4% from the total Sri Lanka’s fish production.
The Portuguese fort that stood where the current Negombo Fort is situated was mostly destroyed by cannon during the Dutch siege in 1644. The Dutch fort was built on its ruins, not on the usual square pattern, but on a pentagonal one, though it had only four bulwarks. The fifth one was never built. The fort was located on a narrow strip of land between a lagoon and an inlet of the sea. It was surrounded by moats, and the gate was accessed via a drawbridge.
St. Mary’s Church
St. Mary’s is Negombo’s best known church and is one of the biggest attractions on the island. It is about 140 years old and has got amazing religious depictions painted all across its ceiling. Negombo has been influenced greatly by the Christian faith from the time it was occupied by the Portuguese. It is often called “Little Rome” in view of the large number of churches in the town. Construction of the church was started in 1874 and completed, after a long gap, in 1922.The art and architecture of this church and a few similar other churches in Sri Lanka demonstrate the cultural amalgamation of the European practice with Sri Lankan art and architecture during the early years of the 20th century.
The Muthurajawela Marshes are situated just south of Negombo and covers an area of approximately 6,000 hectares inclusive of the Negombo lagoon. The daily high tide brings in seawater from the ocean into the wetland. Continuous mixing of these two waters over thousands of years, has led to a brackish, integrated coastal ecosystem that is biologically diverse and teeming with life. A variety of mangroves and other types of flora including medicinal plants are found alongside numerous types of birds, butterflies and fish, some of which are endemic. Crocodiles, monitor lizards, and Sri Lanka’s largest snake, the Python, are also native.