World Heritage & National Cultural Sites
World Heritage Site, Sigiriya Rock
Sigiriya is one of the most valuable historical monuments of Sri Lanka and is known as the Eighth Wonder of the World. The Sigiriya rock plateau, formed from magma of an extinct volcano is 600 feet higher than the surrounding jungles. Since the 3rd century BC the rocky plateau served as a monastery until the 14th century when it was abandoned. The most striking feature is the Mirror Wall. It is painted with inscriptions and poems and the most ancient inscriptions are dating from the 8th century. The palace and fortress complex takes several hours to climb from the bottom to the top and was declared a World Heritage Site in 1982.
Ancient City of Anuradhapura
The Anuradhapura Kingdom was established in 380 BC. It served as the capital city of the country for nearly 1400 years until the beginning of the 11th century AD. During this period, it remained one of the most stable and durable centers of political power and urban life in South Asia.
The ancient city, considered sacred to the Buddhist world, is surrounded by monasteries covering over 16 square miles.
The city also houses the Jetavana, the Abhayagiri Dagaba and Ruwanwelisaya stupa's that house many ancient Buddhist relics and remains of Buddhist monks and nuns. The Jetavana stupa, is the largest stupa in the Buddhist world in both its dimensions and its mass. It is 231 feet high up to its broken pinnacle and it has been calculated that it is made up of 160 million bricks.