When European colonists first arrived in Sri Lanka, they bought many things with them – one of the most important ones being Christianity. Structures like the St. Mary’s Church are proof of the lasting legacy of European colonisation in the country and provide insight into the early days of Catholicism in Sri Lanka.

The Arrival

Catholicism first arrived in Sri Lanka with the Portuguese in 1505. As the Portuguese began establishing their power over the country’s maritime provinces, they began to erect chapels as well. Negombo itself was known for eventually having a significant population of Roman Catholics.

Turbulent Times

Once the Dutch ousted the Portuguese and began governing the latter’s territory in Sri Lanka, several major changes were made. One of the most prominent was the introduction of Protestantism – which the Dutch favoured – and the persecution of Catholics.

Establishing the Church

Things settled down once the British took the place of the Dutch and religious freedom was granted to the local populace. It was under British rule that the St. Mary’s Church was first established in the latter part of the 19th century.

A Religious Landmark

If you’re looking for Negombo places to visit, you can’t go wrong with a visit to St. Mary’s Church. Here you can experience the colonial architecture and the tranquil atmosphere that surrounds the church. What’s more, if you’re staying at a centrally-located Negombo hotel – say, for instance, the Heritance Negombo – it’s only a quick drive away!