Anuradhapura, the greatest monastic city of the ancient world that date from the middle of the 5th century B.C. remained the proud seat of the kingdom of Sri Lanka until the 11th century A.D. Also the mighty very first Kingdom of Ancient Sri Lanka. This sacred city, now in picturesque ruins, was once a major center of Sri Lankan civilization.
The fascinating ancient ruins include huge bell-shaped stupas built of small sun-dried bricks, temples, sculptures, palaces and ancient drinking-water reservoirs. Ancient people may have lived in this area since as early as the 10th century BC, Anuradhapura became a great city after the arrival of a cutting from the Bodhi Tree (Tree of enlightenment), the Buddha’s fig tree, in the 3rd century BC. The sacred branch was brought to Sri Lanka by Sanghamitta Thero, the founder of an order of Buddhist nuns.
Anuradhapura went on to become a Ceylonese political and religious capital (4th century BC) that flourished for 1,300 years. In its prime, Anuradhapura ranked alongside Nineveh and Babylon in its colossal proportions its four walls, each 16 miles (26 km) long, enclosing an area of 256 square miles (663 km)in the number of its inhabitants, and the splendor of its shrines and public buildings. The city also had some of the most complex irrigation systems of the ancient world. Most of the great reservoir tanks still survive today, and some may be the oldest surviving reservoirs in the world.
After an invasion in 993 AD, Anuradhapura was permanently abandoned. For centuries, the site lay hidden in the jungle. Rediscovered by the British in the 19th century, Anuradhapura became a Buddhist pilgrimage site once again. Today, Anuradhapura is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is replete with renovated & rebuilt monuments, restored edifices, preserved ruins and historical sites where the archeological excavations are still being continued. Today, Sri Lanka Holidays foreign tourists and local tourists, who tour Anuradhapura, are simply unable to witness everything this Ancient Kingdom has to offer and this place can be visited in one single day during your holiday in Sri Lanka.