The Historic Cities

Sri Lanka is not just a tropical beach paradise, it has a remarkable history and culture which we can take a glimpse into by exploring historic cities. The Cultural Triangle, located in the interior of the island has the most precious collection of Sri Lanka’s history. It consists of 4 UNESCO World Heritage Sites – Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Sigiriya, and Dambulla.

In the northern corner of the cultural triangle is the sacred city of Anuradhapura, which was the first ancient capital of Sri Lanka. It is also one of the greatest civilizations in the world with preserved ruins dating back to 4th century BC. Polonnaruwa marks the east corner of the triangle, and is significant as it was the second ancient capital of Sri Lanka. Visitors here will be stunned with the impressive ruins of palaces, irrigation marvels and sanctuaries that have survived several hundred years.

The center of the triangle which has 2 historic cities, boasts incredible sites that are in close proximity to each other – the rock fortress of Sigiriya and the cave temples of Dambulla. Sigiriya is considered by some to be the eighth wonder of the ancient world and consists of ancient rock palace ruins on top of a magnificent 180m granite rock. The temple in Dambulla is situated over 160m over the surrounding plains, in five caves that contain over 150 Buddhist statues, murals and frescoes.