Anuradhapura Heritage City

The city of Anuradhapura, which is declared as a world heritage site by UNESCO is situated close to 200 kilometers north of Colombo in the North Central Province of Sri Lanka. This world famous city was Founded in the 4th century BC and remained as the capital of the Anuradhapura Kingdom till the beginning of the 11th century AC. During this era it remained as one of the most stable and durable centers of political power and urban life in South Asia. It was also a wealthy city which created a unique culture and a great civilization. The city also had some of the most complex irrigation systems of the ancient world.

Today this marvelous city of Sri Lanka, with its surrounding monasteries covers an area of over 40 square kilometers and is one of the world's major archaeological sites.

The Sri Maha bodhiya is perhaps the oldest living tree in the world. Around 245 BC, Sanghamitta Theri brought with her a branch of the Bodhi Tree under which the Buddha attained enlightment. The tree was planted on a high terrace about 21 feet (6.5 m) above the ground and surrounded by railings. Today, the tree is one of the most sacred relics in Sri Lanka, respected by Buddhists all over the world. A wall was built around the tree during the reign of King Kirthi Sri Rajasingha, to protect it from wild elephants.

Ruwanwelisaya. After defeating the Tamil king Elara, King Dutugemunu of Sri Lanka built this magnificant stupa. The stupa is known as Ruwanwelisaya, Mahathupa, Swarnamali Chaitya and Rathnamali Dagaba. The compound is supported by stone elephants, and the surrounding wall is decorated with 1,900 figures of elephants - 475 on each side. Successive kings added to the palace over the years.

According to the ancient chronicles of Sri Lanka known as the Mahawansaya, the city of Anuradhapura was planned by the honerable King Pandukabaya. Planning of the Anuradhapura city paid special attention to creating a religious environment but also an environment conducive for foreign traders who had been allowed a place to stay in Anuradhapura. Trade in the ancient city of Anuradhapura was more established at this point of time than it was in other countries that today are considered much more ‘developed’. Anuradhapura was a remarkably advanced ancient city.

After the death of King Pandukabaya who ruled Anuradhapura for over seventy years, he was succeeded by his son Prince Mutasiwa. He too was succeeded as King of Anuradhapura by his son Prince Dewanapethis after a remarkable sixty years. During this reign Mihindu Maharahathan Wahansa arrived in Sri Lanka and bolstering the Buddhist influence through art, and the construction of Stupa’s, tanks, reservoirs and temples.

For around 1500 years Anuradhapuraya was Sri Lanka’s capital city, within this period a fantastic and unique civilization and culture developed.