Negombo a populous town on the west coast of Sri Lanka is famous for the number of churches it has per inhabitant, a result of the Portuguese occupation of the 16th century and the devotion of its parishioners. Fifty historical churches still survive in good condition and many of them are outstanding examples of various European religious architectural styles. Jetwing Lagoon provides a tranquil vacation spot as well as easy access to area attractions.
One of the better known is St Mary’s on Grand Street. The present church was in the making from 1858 when the foundation stone was laid and was completed only in 1922 due to financial constrains. St Mary’s, an excellent example of neo rococo architecture is famous for the paintings on the ceiling above the nave and 12 other paintings based on biblical stories, by local artist NS Godamanne. The alabaster statues of various saints on the pillars that line the nave and stained glass window add to the attractions here. St Mary’s is the only church in Negombo that celebrates mass in the 3 official languages. St Sebastian’s Church on Sea Street Negombo also known as the Katuwapitiya Church is in the gothic style and is modeled after Reims Cathedral in France. Due to a lack of funding the height of the church had to be reduced. However it is still inspiring with its soaring towers. The Thalahena Church or Barbara Church in East Negombo built in 1889 by the parish priest and parishioners is simpler in style. A 16th century statue of St Fatima is housed here. The water of the church well is believed to have miraculous properties. The Baroque style of St Mary’s Church on the Negombo – Minuwangoda road built in the 16th century still impresses. This is said to be the first church built outside the Portuguese fort. The catholic heritage of Negombo continues to be fostered by its many churches. As a popular Sri Lanka spa resort guests are offered a range of rejuvenating treatments and opportunities to get in touch with the area’s very special heritage.
Intrigued by history, art and food, Shazzana Hamid is a writer who is passionate about the extraordinary. Disguised as Lavinia Woolf she writes of the exhilarating and enchanting. Google+