Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka

Anuradhapura is one of the ancient capitals of Sri Lanka, famous for its well-preserved ruins of ancient Sri Lankan civilization. It was 1st capital of the Kingdom of Rajarata after Tambapanni and Upatissa Nuwara. The city was the center of Theravada Buddhism for many centuries. The city lies 205 km north of the current capital Colombo in Sri Lanka’s North Central Province, on the banks of the historic Malvathu Oya. It is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world.

It is believed that from the 4th century BC, Anuradhapura was the capital of the Sinhalese 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. With the introduction of Buddhism, the city gained more prominence and the great building era began. The ruins consist of three classes of buildings, stupas, monastic buildings, and pokunas. The stupas are bell-shaped masses of masonry. Remains of the monastic buildings are to be found in every direction in the shape of raised stone platforms, foundations and stone pillars. The most famous is the Brazen Palace erected by King Dutugamunu about 164 BC. The pokunas are bathing-tanks or tanks for the supply of drinking water, which are scattered everywhere through the jungle.

Below is a selection of photos taken during a visit to Anuradhapura. Click on a miniature-photo to enlarge it, then navigate using the arrows left/right of the photo or use the cursor keys on your keyboard.