Colombo Fort, the historic heart of Sri Lanka's capital, is a dynamic blend of colonial architecture and modern urban vibrancy. Originally established by the Portuguese in the 16th century and later developed by the Dutch and British, the area now houses government offices, financial institutions, and bustling markets. Amidst the contemporary hustle, remnants of the past, such as the Clock Tower and Old Parliament Building, provide glimpses into Colombo's multifaceted history, making it a compelling cultural and commercial hub.
Colombo Fort is the cultural, financial and economic hub of the city and is home to many important buildings and offices. It is the supreme business district of Srilanka and is home to the Stock Exchange building and the World Trade Centre, which is the tallest building in the country.
The area is a very dynamic area as it not only facilitates trade and business in its lanes but also has some of the finest food stalls, tourist places, casinos and bars. Colombo Fort also has the popular Galle Face Green Promenade which is sea-facing ground built-in 1859.
It is one of the finest and most popular places in the city. In the yesteryears, the area was home to the biggest palace in Sri Lanka which was demolished and repaired from the Dutch-era to the Portuguese-era. Till date, the remains of the palace are in existence like the Bastin Dan Briel, Battenburg Batteries, etc. Colombo Fort is also home to the official residence of the President of Sri Lanka and other important Ministers.
The fort area also has the Consulate of Spain, Seychelles, Latvia, Denmark and Lithuania. Colombo Fort is the ultimate place to enjoy the original vibe of the Island nation and embrace the rich culture of the country through its food and various other things and activities.
How To Reach
Bandaranaike International Airport is 43 km from Colombo Fort. One can reach Colombo airport by bus, taxi or train.
1. By Bus: Take a government bus from Colombo Fort to reach the Sri Lankan International Airport. Katunayake Bus station is the closest bus station to the airport. Bus number 244/3 takes you to Colombo Fort from Colombo Area.
2. By Train: Train is the cheapest mode of transport between the airport and fort area. Katunayake is the closest railway station to the airport and one can find trains to Colombo Fort from this station.
3. By Taxi: A taxi ride can cost up to 2500 TKR and takes around 30-35 minutes.
Other Essential Information
History of Colombo Fort
The fort area was first controlled by the Portuguese in the early 16th century. The Portuguese started to establish their business in and around the Fort area and built various trade centres. They made the Fort area an important business hub and soon started to expand their reach in the interior parts of the country.
In the mid-16th century, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) was captured by the Dutch East India Company. The Dutch controlled Colombo Fort and other nearby area for almost 200 years. They not only controlled the fort area but also had established major business and trade centres.
Dutch also constructed heavy artillery and various defence systems on the border of the fort area like the Battenburg Battery which was the biggest of all the Gun Batteries in Colombo Fort. Colombo was later captured by the Britishers after the Dutch war. The Britishers flourished in the major areas in Colombo Fort.
They not only paved the war for the establishment of various business houses but also built many urban centres like the Legislative Council, State Council and Ceylon Radio in the Fort area. Many activities in the various Indian states were controlled by the Britishers from Sri Lanka and managed major trades from Colombo Fort.
Where to Eat in Colombo Fort
The Colombo Fort houses some of the finest restaurants and food items in the city. Visit the various stalls and restaurants and enjoy the most mouth-watering dishes in the city.
Below are some of the finest places to eat in Colombo Fort.
1. SideWalk Cafe: Located near the Colombo City Hotel, this restaurant is one of the finest places to eat in Colombo Fort. SideWalk is located near a beautiful sidewalk and is one of the most picturesque cafes in the area.
Address: Colombo City Hotel, Opposite World Trade Centre, Canal Road, Fort, Colombo 01.
Timings: 7 AM to 10.30 PM
Days: Monday to Sunday
2. Mihiri Foods: Located in the Kotahena locality of Colombo Fort, Mihiri Foods is a popular cafe in the area. Popular for its rice and curry, Mihiri Foods is highly visited by International tourists. Also, The cafe is known for the various fish paintings on its walls.
It is one of those restaurants which require advance bookings, especially during lunch hours.
- Address: 61, Mahavidyalaya Mawatha, Kotahena, Colombo 13
- Timings: 6 AM to 5 PM
- Days: Monday to Sunday
3. Sri Ambal Cafe: Sri Ambal Cafe is very popular for its South-Indian dishes like Medu Vada and Idli Sambar. The restaurant serves a traditional Sri Lankan sauce also known as Bonda. It is eaten with Dosa, which is one of the most popular side dishes in the restaurant.
The ambience of the Cafe is also very popular as the simple and subtle decoration and designs attract many tourists.
- Address: Bristol Street, Opposite Commercial Bank, Fort, Colombo 01
- Timings: 7 AM to 7 PM
- Days: Monday to Sunday
4. Bombay Sweet Centre: Located near Pettah Street, Bombay Sweet Centre is a popular cafe for desserts and other sweet items. One of the most popular things to try in Bombay Sweet Centre is Nannari, which is a traditional Sri Lankan cold drink.
- Address: 63, 2nd Cross Street, Pettah, Colombo 11
- Timings: 9.30 AM to 7 PM
- Days: Monday to Sunday
Nightlife in Fort-ColomboOther than its cultural and religious places, Colombo Fort has a lot to offer to its young-guns. Home to some of the finest nightclubs and pubs, here are some of the best places to enjoy Nightlife in Colombo Fort.
1. Sky Lounge: Located in the Kingsbury Hotel. Sky Lounge is a terrace-bar and offers the finest views in the city. The lounge offers the charismatic view of the Indian Ocean on one side and the city lights on the other side. Other than its imported beers, Sky Lounge is also popular for its various mocktails.
- Address: 48 Janadhipathi Mawatha, The Kingsbury, Colombo, Sri Lanka,
2. Taphouse by RnR: With international cuisine, drinks and live shows, Taphouse by RnR is one of the most famous clubs in Colombo Fort. Other than its popular drinks and colourful mocktails, the club is also known for its interiors.
- Address: Canal Road, Dutch Hospital Complex, Colombo, Sri Lanka.
3. Margarita Blue: Featuring a beautiful garden, Margarita Blue is located on the terrace of the Galadari Hotel. Margarita Blue features some of the best live music entertainment shows in Colombo Fort. It features various Retro shows and some traditional Sri Lankan nights. Enjoy a cool drink and groove to the tunes of the music in Margarita Blue.
- Address: The Galadari Hotel, 64, Lotus Road, Colombo, Sri Lanka.
Tips for visiting Colombo Fort
1. Fort is the best tourist place in the city and to enjoy the place at leisure, here are a few tips.
2. Make sure that you have checked the various rules and regulations of the various places in Colombo Fort.
3. Always check the timings of the various places you wish to visit in Colombo Fort area.
4. Keep in mind that you do not throw litter in and around the area.
5. Make sure that you maintain silence near the public places and do not create unnecessary chaos.