Fort area, earlier known as Kolonthota, is the place the Portuguese landed in the early 16th century. They developed it and, to protect their economic interests, built a fort there in 1588. In 1656, the Dutch conquered this fort and established their sway over Colombo. In 1815, the British gained control over it and made it their administrative capital. By 1870, the walls of the fort were demolished as the British felt confident of their conquest of the island. Soon the fort area became the commercial capital and many buildings sprang up. Though the capital of the country was shifted to Sri Jayawardenapura Kotte in the 1980s, many important Government offices and landmarks remain in the fort area, notable being the President’s Secretariat (Old Parliament Building), President’s House, Clock Tower and the Lighthouse, the Bank of Ceylon (BOC) headquarters and the World Trade Centre (WTC) or Twin Towers of Colombo, which is 152 m (499 ft) tall with 40 floors.
Next to the WTC is the clock tower constructed in 1860. The light was added to it to function as a light house five years later. In 1952 the navigational lights were de-commissioned after the nearby tall buildings obstructed its view from the ocean. The original clock, made by the same manufacturers as the Big Ben of London, was replaced in 1913. Today, it stands tall and regal at 29 m (95 ft) and is, perhaps, the only lighthouse which gives you the correct time of the day, or night.
If Fort is at the head of the modern city then the Pettah is its historical heart. A constantly changing mass of people and commerce it is here that you get the true flavour of the city. The streets are permanently thronged with shoppers and merchants and if there's anything you can buy or sell, you'll find it here.
Main Street is the principal thoroughfare, while a series of Cross Streets (numbered one to four) bisect it at regular intervals. Each street boasts its own specialities, mixed in with a hotch potch of clothing and incongruous general merchandise stalls. Casual market traders meanwhile try to hawk everything from cleaning products and watches to computer software. A walk around the Pettah might be frustrating as you battle the crowds but nowhere else in Colombo do you get the same sense of vibrancy.
Vibrant Fort is the centre of commercial Colombo and serves as a convenient counterpoint to the rest of the city. During the Dutch presence on the island it was a fortified harbour, nowadays it is the most developed part of Sri Lanka. Fort has been largely cordoned off following the Tamil uprising, and even following the peace treaty there are numerous military checkpoints and roadblocks in place. However, if you can filter these out there is plenty to see and it remains a fascinating if rather incongruous symbol of Sri Lanka's ambition.
The parliamentary buildings to the south of the district are the city's finest examples of architecture, while the central clock tower (at the intersection of Janadhipathi Mawatha and Chatham Street) was once a lighthouse and is now surrounded by multi-storey buildings. The highlight here is the twin towers of Colombo's world trade centre. The central concourse is open to the public and houses a small viewing and shopping gallery, complete with glass roof through which you can see the identical towers spiralling upwards above you. There are often displays of local art and photography.
Those buildings of the fort area was built during the Portuguese and Dutch eras but now simply the main administrative and commercial area of the
Within Fort city limits are several places has some kind of of tourist interest and attractions which can be expediently seen on base. The colonial and the Dutch buildings include the government high administrative buildings, the Grand Oriental Hotel, built in the mid 19th century as barracks for soldiers, prominent writer of the Russians Literature, Maxim Gorky was there some times in his visits to sri lanka during early 1900’s the Lighthouse Clock Tower which along with being , Twin towers latest architectural magnetism
Colombo, the sri lankas largest city, but it is not the capital of sri lanka . capital is “Sri jayawardana Pura kotte” . While the city holds less understandable attention than many other parts of the island, it's still a colorful enough place and worth a visit to see what makes Sri Lanka tick.
Colombo is a comparatively simple city .. To the north is the Fort district, the country's business centre, which has department stores, book shops, airline offices and is the site of the Central Bank, The World Trade Centre twin towers.
When the heat, chaos and hustle and bustle of Colombo get on top of you, Mount Lavinia is a whole world away... yet it only takes 20 minutes to get there!
A golden beach, warm blue water, delicious fresh seafood, playing cricket on the sands - it's like going to the south coast but without leaving the city. On a clear day you can still see the towers of the World Trade Centre in Fort. After a stressful week at work this was my perfect place to relax on a Sunday morning. The Mount Lavinia Hotel is one of my favourites in Sri Lanka and a wonderfully atmospheric place to watch the sun set over the ocean as the waves crash against the rocks below.
Although officially independent, Mount Lavinia town is effectively another suburb of Colombo, based around the Galle Road and every bit as busy and crowded as the rest. But down by the sea is a different story and it's a wonderful escape if you live here, or an ideal beach retreat if you've only got a few days in the country.
Kollupitiya, or Colpetty as it's pronounced and often written, is a narrow strip of land running alongside the Galle Road. Along with Fort, the Colpetty Bazaar was the centre of the first British colonial presence in the city and there are some interesting buildings at the northern end. The most famous of which is the Galle Face Hotel.
Colpetty is also one of the best examples of modern, changing Colombo. Fashionable Crescat shopping centre, a rising number of brand new coffee bars, some interesting clothes shops, the electric goods on sale at Liberty Plaza, and luxury residential towers make it one of the more exclusive areas along the Galle Road. There's not really much to "see" in the area, it's mostly one for the shoppers.
Just as Fort is not an actual fort, nor is Slave Island really an island. The Trade Decriptions people would be kept busy if they ever came to Colombo! Next to the huge Beira Lake, the area's unusual name comes from the Dutch keeping their slaves from all around Asia here before shipping them off around the world. It's one of my favourite areas in Colombo to just wander around.
Today Slave Island is a very mixed and interesting area - a bit off the standard tourist trail and a glimpse of a bustling, lively Colombo in a more traditional form, with street traders and old men chatting out on the pavement. Colombo's cultural diversity is well displayed here: there's an incredible Hindu temple, as well as the interesting Buddhist Gangaramaya temple and nearby Seema Malaka meditation island on the lake. There's a large Moor community here and numerous mosques and churches.
But there's also been plenty of modern investment here and its more modern side can be best seen at the JAIC tower - one of Colombo's most fashionable residencies and shopping centres.
The area called Fort isn't actually a fort, but it is the closest thing Sri Lanka has to a commercial centre. This is where the huge port, the largest banks and several of the best hotels are found. However, LTTE suicide bombs destroyed much of the area at various times over the past decade or two and many shops and businesses have moved out further down the Galle Road. So at times parts of Fort more closely resemble a ghost town than a thriving centre of commerce.
Part of the area, such as Chatham Street and around the clock tower, is closed to traffic and the barbed wire, heavily armed soldiers, sandbags, bunkers and empty shells of blown out buildings can be quite intimidating, resembling the heart of a war zone.
But there is still plenty of life and the World Trade Centre, five star hotels such as the Hilton, the Intercontinental and the Galadari, large supermarkets and banks. If you want money changed or anything slightly dodgy then take a walk near Chatham Street and you won't need to look far. The touts and con-men around the Hilton and clock tower can be annoying.
Historically this is a very important area and there are some stunning old colonial buildings that have fortunately survived, such as the head office of Cargill's food stores, and It's an interesting walk round. But it's unlikely you'll spend too much time here. Even Fort train station, which will take you all over the island, is in Pettah rather than Fort.
This bell tower is located in the heart of the Fort area and within the restricted area whereby only authorised persons can enter.