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Negombo is a major city in Sri Lanka, located on the west coast of the island and at the mouth of the Negombo Lagoon, in Western Province, Sri Lanka. Negombo is the fifth largest city in the country after the capital Colombo, Kandy, Jaffna and Galle and it is the second largest City in Western province after Colombo. Negombo is also the administrative capital of the Negombo Division. It is one of the major commercial hubs in Sri Lanka of about 128,000 inhabitants in the city limits, approximately 37 km north of Colombo city. Negombo is known for it's huge and old fishing industry with busy fish markets, and the nice sandy beaches with modern hotels, guest houses, fine restaurants, pubs and the night life.

The name "Negombo" was first used by the Portuguese. But the corruption of the Sinhala name Mīgamuva (මීගමුව), means the "Group of Bees", has been named a few centuries ago in the ancient kings' era. The squad of king Kavantissa, found out the bee honey on a canoe near the seashore of this place, for Vihara Maha Devi, was pregnant for the prince Dutugamunu, then the place has been named as "Mee-Gomuwa".

Negombo is about 7 km from the Bandaranaike International Airport and Negombo has a moderate fish port (used during the periods of Portuguese and Dutch colonization) The economy of Negombo is mainly based on tourism and its centuries-old fishing industry, though it also produces cinnamon,[1] ceramics, and brass ware. The Colombo Stock Exchange-Negombo branch and many major financial corporations have their key branches in Negombo. There are also Departmental stores, Large super markets, and various of branded shops and Boutiques in the bustling Negombo city streets.

Negombo lagoon
The fishermen who are based at the Negombo lagoon live in abject poverty in shanty thatch palm villages along the water's edge. They rely mainly on their traditional knowledge of the seasons for their livelihood, using outrigger canoes carved out of tree trunks and nylon nets to bring in modest catches from September through till April.

Their boats are made in two distinct forms, oruvas (a type of sailing canoe) and paruvas (a large, man-powered catamaran fitted with kurlon dividers), and are said to have originated in the islands off the Mozambican coast; they were brought to Sri Lanka by Portuguese traders in the 17th century.

For generations the lagoon has provided the fishermen with a plentiful supply of crabs, shrimps, lobsters, cuttle fish and many of the native species of fish. The men are regularly forced to head out to the ocean to fish, often losing money in the chartering process. In recent years, the villagers have supplemented the income earned from fishing by collecting toddy, or palm sap, which is used to brew arrack.[1]

Tourism

Negombo Beach
Negombo city is an ideal place with modern life style, for those who want quick access to and from the country's international airport. The 100 km long canal network running through the city is still used, and outrigger canoes and modern water-craft ply this route daily, for trade and tourist purposes. Remains of colonization include the Dutch fort built in 1672, as well as centuries-old Portuguese and Dutch houses, administrative buildings, and churches. Negombo is also home to the country's second-largest fish market, the "Lellama", at the north end of the town's lagoon. There are daily fish auctions, which give tourists a chance to meet the area's fishermen and even organise fishing trips into the lagoon and the ocean beyond. Other nearby attractions open to visitors include Muthurajawela, which is part of a 6,000-hectare (14,826-acre) protected marshland, home to over 190 species of wildlife.

Negombo offers some of the better beaches on the west coast of Sri Lanka, and draws tourists who stop over for a day on their way to or from the airport. Some quiet stretches of the beach are maintained by the tourist hotels, while others are always busy with fishermen and their equipment. Water-sports and diving are also popular among visitors, with a few well-preserved coral reefs and a 50-year-old shipwreck (Kudapaduwa) that serves as an artificial reef for many varieties of fish. There are also local handicrafts, batiks and jewellery boutiques on the beaches and the shops in the city.
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