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Anuradhapura Sacred City

Sri Lanka Attractions

Famous as one of Sri Lanka’s ancient capitals, the sacred city of Anuradhapura is popular for its preservation of ruins and remains from ancient Lanka. The city lies in the North Central Province, approximately 205 kilometres to the north of Colombo. It is bordered by the Malvathu Oya River. Owing to the rich history and culture associated with this place, it was added to the World Heritage Site’s list by UNESCO in 1982. The majority of this 40sqkm sacred site today features monasteries.

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Anuradhapura Sacred City History

The history of the city dates back to as far as the 5th century BC, although archeological evidence suggests it may have existed around the 10th century BC. The establishment of the city took place around a part of the ‘tree of enlightenment’, that is, the fig tree of Buddha, which was brought to this island during the 4th century BC. From then onwards, it was capital of Sri Lanka, and flourished as the centre of urban life and political power in South Asia for nearly 1,300 years, under the rule of the Singhalese kings, but in 993 AD, after a fierce invasion, Anuradhapura was abandoned and deserted.

Anuradhapura Sacred City Sturcture

For a long time, Anuradhapura was hidden away in thick, dense jungle, making it inaccessible. But the city came to the light when its remains were excavated and discovered in the 19th century. Amongst the ruins that are found in Anuradhapura are three classes of buildings – monastic buildings, dagobas and pokunas. Other remains included palaces and monuments, which have now been renovated and recovered, so that tourists and visitors get a firsthand feel of the history related to this splendid site.

  • Location: 205km north of Colombo
  • How to get there: Cheap and affordable buses regularly ply the road to Anuradhapura; besides you can opt for private car, train, luxury coach, or airplane.
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