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Anuradhapura Ancient City

One of the world’s greatest and oldest civilizations. According to written history, Anuradhapura Ancient City was the island’s first capital for nearly 1500 years, from the 5th to the 10th century BC. Buddhism was introduced to the island at the beginning of the Anuradhapura Ancient City Kingdom. After this most notable event, the king embraced Buddhism and established the order of monks in the country. Since then, until the kingdom’s destruction, it has flourished with temples, Buddhist monasteries, agricultural reservoirs, hospitals, and beautifully landscaped gardens. Several invasions were launched from South India against the Anuradhapura Ancient City Kingdom. As a result, the Kingdom was moved to Polonnaruwa Ancient City.

Anuradhapura Ancient City is today a live pilgrimage place for Buddhists from all over the globe, as well as a ruined city that may be explored. The Sacred City of Anuradhapura Ancient City was declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982.

Additional information

Ruins in the City

  • Sri Maha Bodhi Tree– The sacred tree under which the Buddha attained enlightenment and which has stood proudly for almost 2200 years. It is the world’s oldest living tree with a written history
  • Ruwanweliseya Stupa– A wall sculpture of elephants surrounds the stupa, which houses relics, was built in the 2nd century BC
  • Jethawanaramaya Stupa– One of the tallest brick monuments in the ancient world and enshrined relics and gold folios scriptures of Buddhist teaching
  • Abhayagiriya Stupa and Monastery– The ancient Buddhist monastery is one of the greatest in ancient Sri Lanka extending over 200ha, with several remnants including the country’s second biggest stupa, Twin Ponds and Moonstone Carving.
  • Samadhi Buddha Statue– One of the outstanding stone carvings from the Anuradhapura Ancient City period
  • Brazen Palace- This magnificent edifice was built on 1600 pillars and covered with a bronze tile roof. As a result, the name was given
  • Thuparamaya Stupa- It was the first Buddhist temple built in the country after Buddhism was introduced in the third century BC
  • Archaeological Museum– A place to discover the rich culture and history of Anuradhapura Ancient City. The museum was founded in 1947
  • Isurumuniya Temple-

This was the first temple to host the Sacred Tooth Relic of Buddha. Aside from being an important center of worship, the rock carvings of the Isurumuniya Lovers, the Royal Family, elephants, and the rain deity are notable characteristics.

  • Ranmasu Uyana-

The Royal Park is well known for its rock-sculpted stargate and bathing ponds with advanced hydraulics.

  • Vessagiriya Forest Monastery-

The monastery complex was built approximately 2400 years ago, and it has 24 caverns occupied by monks as well as several stone inscriptions.

Nearby Attractions

  • Mihintale Forest Monastery

The birthplace of Buddhism in Sri Lanka was Mihintale, a forested hill with scattered granite boulders and caves. In the third century, the Buddhist monk Great Mahinda and his followers arrived in Mihintale from India and proclaimed the Buddha’s teachings to King Devanampiyatissa. Then Buddhism swiftly became an important component of Sinhalese society, and the region was encircled by a monastery complex, a monks’ hospital, and Stupas. The monks’ first homes were surrounded by 68 caverns. The grand stairway that leads up to the main terrace has 1840 stone steps.

Distance: 15 Km

The most popular nearby attraction: Mihintale Forest Monastery (15 Km)


within 10 Km

Star Classified Hotels- Yes

Boutique Hotels- Yes

Resorts- No

International Chain Hotels- No

Ayurvedic Hotels- Yes

Villas- Yes

Eco Hotels- No

Camping- No

Unclassified Hotels- Yes

* You might still find preferred accommodation in nearby cities.


CMB Airport- 171 Km (travel time: 3hrs 30min)

Colombo City- 202 Km (travel time: 4hrs 10min)

Dambulla- 68 Km (travel time: 1hrs 30min)

Plonnaruwa- 94 Km (travel time: 2hrs 10min)

Sigiriya Rock Fortress- 75 Km (travel time: 1hrs 40min)

Kandy City- 139 Km (travel time: 3hrs 20min)

Galle Dutch Fort- 304 Km (travel time: 5hrs 30min)

* The time and distance are only given to give you an idea. There are stopovers between the two locations. The cities listed above are some of the most popular tourist attractions in Sri Lanka.

Best Time

Year round

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