The city of Negombo has earned the title “Little Rome” taking into account the fact that it is strewn with many Portuguese era Roman Catholic Churches and architectural structures. Most of the populace of Negombo is Roman Catholic in faith. Therefore it comes as no surprise that St. Mary’s Church, the largest Cathedral in Negombo which is also one of the largest in Sri Lanka, plays an integral cultural and religious role in the City.
St. Mary’s church is situated in the heart of Negombo, on Grand Street and is just over 6 kilometres from the Bandaranaike International Airport. Known distinctly by its walls coloured with fading pink hues and its neoclassic style of architecture it is a must see sight in Negombo for visitors.
Construction of the cathedral started in 1874 and was completed after a hiatus in 1922. Its cavernous hall is lined by large rectangular columns connected by arches and is topped by a roof adorned by paintings depicting images of Christ’s life drawn by local Buddhist artist, N.S. Godamanne. As the eyes gaze down the columns they will be met by a host of alabaster statues of saints. One of the Altars was imported from Europe and was funded for as requested in the will of a donor.