The charming town of Negombo in Sri Lanka holds the status of a significant tourist destination with its many attractions. This seaside town is noted for its expansive sandy beaches, tranquil ambience and cultural attractions. Negombo has been greatly influenced by Christianity, brought over by the Portuguese during colonial times. It is not surprising that it has been called ‘Little Rome’ because of its numerous elaborate Catholic churches, many of which feature grand architecture and highly ornate interiors.
The renowned St. Mary’s Church has the distinction of being the largest cathedral in the town of Negombo and also one of the largest in the island nation. Construction of the building commenced in 1874 and continued for nearly half a century, before finally being completed in 1922. The church is best known for its magnificent architecture and acclaimed paintings. It is also renowned for its decorated ceiling and alabaster figures of different saints.
Since the vast majority of the people of Negombo adhere to the Catholic faith, it is not surprising that the church is a much esteemed place in the town. It is also visited by numerous foreign tourists and sightseers. The lovely paintings decorating the ceiling as well as others in the church interior are undoubtedly one of the highlights of this place of worship. The artworks on the ceiling are amongst the finest of their kind in the nation and remain in excellent condition today. They are the work of a talented painter, N.S. Godamanne, who was requested to create various Biblical scenes in the manner of Michelangelo’s illustrations on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Godamanne created the paintings whilst lying on a scaffold more than 70 m above the ground, truly an amazing undertaking. Additionally, this remarkable artist was also responsible for the creation of a number of other artworks at the shrine, each illustrating a verse of the Bible.
With so much to see and admire, a visit to St. Mary’s Church is sure to be an enthralling and rewarding experience. If you would like to stay at a quality Negombo Hotel in close proximity to many of the area’s attractions, an excellent choice would be the Club Hotel Dolphin. This outstanding hotel in Negombo offers well-appointed accommodations and attentive hospitality.
Angela Fernando is an impassioned travel writer who composes pieces under the pen name Sumaira Narayan. She loves writing about new and exciting places around the world and hopes to visit them all someday. Google+