Ancient Cities

ANURADHAPURA
Population :

District : Anuradhapura
Typical Weather : Warm and Sunny
Dist. from Colombo : 206 km

Sri Lanka's first capital, founded in the 5th century B.C. is situated 206 km. from Colombo. Attractions worth seeing are:- The Sacred Bo Tree, Abhayagiri Dagaba, Jetavanaramaya, Brazen Palace, Thuparama Dagaba, Samadhi Buddha, Kuttam Pokuna and Mirisavati Dagaba.


MIHINTALE
Population :

District : Anuradhapura
Typical Weather : Warm and Sunny
Dist. from Colombo : 217 km

Situated 11 km. east of Anuradhapura is Mihintale, regarded as the cradle of Buddhism in Sri Lanka. The rock is dotted with shrines and rock dwellings. A grand stairway of 1840 steps made of granite slabs, 5 metres wide, leads to the summit with its splendid view of the surrounding countryside.


POLONNARUWA
Population :

District: Polonnaruwa
Typical Weather : Warm & Sunny
Dist. from Colombo : 216 km
The island's medieval capital (11th to 13th century A.D.) is situated 216 km. from Colombo and rose to fame after the decline of Anuradhapura. The largest of the man made reservoirs, the huge Parakrama Samudra, is larger in size than the Colombo harbour. See also the ruins of the King's Council Chamber, the Royal Citadel, the Kumara Pokuna, Royal Pavilion, the Vatadage Relic House lavished with moonstones, guardstones and sculptured railing, Kiri Vehera - the best preserved of all Sri Lanka's un-restored dagabas; Gal Vihare - the most impresive sculptures are the colossal Buddha images carved on the face of a granite boulder. The recumbent Buddha measures 14 metres and the standing figure is 7 metres in height.


SIGIRIYA
Population :

District : Matale
Typical Weather : Warm and Sunny
Dist. from Colombo : 169 km

This rock fortress was built by king Kasyapa in the 5th century A.D. and was a royal citadel for more than 18 years. In a sheltered pocket, approached by a spiral stairway, are the famous frescoes. The summit of the rock, with an area of nearly one hectare was the site of the palace, the outer wall of which was built on the very brink of the precipice. The UNESCO - sponsored Central Cultural Fund has restored Sigiriya's 5th century Water Gardens to their former glory.


DAMBULLA
Population :
District :
Matale
Typical Weather : Warm and Sunny
Dist. from Colombo : 148 km

Like Sigiriya, Dambulla is a vast isolated rock mass and it was here that King Valagam Bahu took refuge in the 1st century B.C. He later turned the caves into a rock temple. Some of the frescoes are over 2,000 years old and there is a colossal figure of the recumbent Buddha carved out of the living rock, some 14 metre long.


YAPAHUWA
Population :
District :

Typical Weather : Warm and Sunny
Dist. from Colombo : 145 km

An ancient fortress and capital built in the year 1301, approximately 145 km. from Colombo, Yapahuwa is a rock rising to a height of 90 metres. Many traces of the ancient battle defences can still be seen, while an ornamental stairway remains its biggest showpiece.


ALUVIHARA
Population :
District :
Matale
Typical Weather : Cool
Dist. from Colombo : 142 km

26 km. from Kandy is the Matale district. An ancient rock temple of great significance in the history of Buddhism. The Buddhist canon and its commentaries, which were till then handed down orally, were written for the first time at Aluvihara Temple.

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