Sacred City of Anuradhapura (1982)
Anuradhapura, first capital of Sri Lanka, was established around a fig from
the tree under which Lord Buddha had attained enlightenment. The fig was
brought in Sri Lanka in the 3rd century B.C. by Sanghamitta, daughter of
Indian emperor Ashoka and the founder of an order of Buddhist nuns.
Considered the most sacred town in Sri Lanka, it is the birthplace of
Sinhala civilisation. It served as the Sri Lankan capital from 5th century
BC to AD 1017. Anuradhapura has been marked by Ptolemy in his first ever
Ancient City of Polonnaruwa (1982)
After Anuradhapura was devastated due to continuous invasions of the South
Indians, Sri Lankan royal family moved its capital to Polonnaruwa in 993.
Sea of Parakrama, a massive 12th century man-made reservoir, is the
dominating structure in the town. Other important sites of Polonnaruwa are
King's Council Chamber, Lanka Thilaka Viharaya, Gal Viharaya (Rock Temple)
and Lotus Bath. The town also hosts Brahmanic structures built by the
Cholas. Monumental ruins of the fabulous garden-town made by King
Parakrambahu I bathe the visitors in the glory of the ancient times.
Ancient City of Sigiriya (1982)
Sigiriya was also once the capital of Sri Lanka. The remnants of the
city, built by King Kassapa (477-95), lie on the steep slopes. The Lion's
Rock, 370m tall overlooks the forest. Staircases and galleries emerge from
the mouth of the huge lion. Anyone who sees the Sigiriya Rock is left
startled. Sigiriya gardens are the fusion of symmetrical and asymmetrical
elements. Detailed planning has been done for laying these gardens.
Cave Comples of Dambulla (1991)
Dambulla is the largest and best preserved cave-temple complex in Sri
Lanka. Harking back to 2nd century, it is an amalgamation of five caves
holding magnificent idols and elegant scriptures. Famous Iron Wood Forest
and Rose Quartz Mountains add to the glory of Dambulla. Buddhist mural
painting have attained worldwide acclaim. Second cave called Maharaja Lena
is the largest and most famous among Dambulla caves.
Old Town of Galle (1988)
The Portuguest founded the port town of Galle in the 16th century. They
also built a fortress which was later destroyed by the Dutch. However, in
1663, the Dutch themselves built a fort, which has been declared by UNESCO a
world heritage site. European and South Asian architecture styles have been
together employed to develop this fortified town.
Sacred City of Kandy (1988)
Senkadagalapura, popularly known as Kandy, is a sancrosanct city,
particularly known for the Temple of Tooth and the Old Royal Palace. The
city which came into existence in the 15th century was the last royal
capital where 2500 years of royal rule came to an end. Temple of Tooth,
built in the 16th century, is the most important Buddhist place of worship
in Sri Lanka
Sinharaja Forest Reserve (1988)
Sinharaja which literally tanslates as 'Lion King' in the Sinhala language
is a tropical lowland rainforest. Several variety of trees which grow here
are considered rare. The forest hosts plenty of endemic wildlife,
particularly birds as well as mammals, insects, reptiles, rare amphibians
and butterflies. The forest is a living heritage.