Colombo is a busy and vibrant city with a mixture of modern life, colonial buildings and impressive monuments. Due to its large harbour and its strategic position along the East–West sea trade routes, Colombo was already known to ancient traders more 2,000 years ago. However, Colombo was always overshadowed by Kandy, which was the traditional seat of the Sri Lankan kingdoms, and it was only named the capital of the island when Sri Lanka was ceded to the British Empire in 1815.
Colombo is a multi-religious, multi-ethnic and multi-cultural city with a mix of numerous ethnic groups, mainly Sinhalese, Sri Lankan Tamils and Sri Lankan Moor. There are also small communities of people with Chinese, Portuguese Burgher, Dutch Burgher, Malay and Indian origins living in the city, as well as numerous people of European descent.
The end of the long lasting civil war in 2009 brought significant changes to the city, with numerous skyscrapers, shopping malls and entertainment venues built. However, the city still features plenty of traditional neighborhoods with street stalls and eateries, as well as many colorful markets. Colombo offers a huge variety of hotels, restaurants, bars and nighlife venues for locals and visitors alike.
Negombo is one of Sri Lanka's main holiday destinations well known for its long sandy beaches, beautiful sunsets and great scuba diving. Due to its shallow harbour, the city played an important role in the island's long history, and several historical sites such as the (still in use) Dutch Canal and remnants of a fortress dating back to the Portugese occupation, known as the Negombo Fort, can still be seen. Negombo is a lively town, especially around the harbour areas famous for its fish markets. There are also several natural attractions around the city, the best known being Negombo Lagoon, where visitors can go on boat tours to see mangrove forests and wildlife, especially birds. The town has many hotels and guesthouses, as well as restaurants and eateries, serving both local and international cuisines.
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