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  • Last Updated: 08th December 2016

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Sri Lanka - Sightseeing

Sri Lanka may not be the first place you think of when going on vacation, but this tranquil and friendly island is the perfect place to not only relax, but marvel at some stunning sights. With a mystical presence that resonates through the island due to its religious nature, you’ll feel in awe as you take a look at the country’s natural wonders and ancient marvels.

Marvels

When it comes to jaw-dropping ancient wonders, you may think Egypt has that covered with the pyramids, but Sri Lanka’s Ancient Stupas are every bit as amazing. The ancient wonders are considered some of Sri Lanka’s best architectural creations, and are the biggest brick structures known from the pre-modern world. Traditionally places of worships and a residence for monks, you can check out the Mirisawetiya Vihara, which was built between 161-137 BC, or the Jetavana, the largest stupa, standing at more than 200 feet it’s heavier than the largest pyramid.

Ancient marvels don’t stop at the stupas; the country’s filled with them. Sitting between the Thissa Wewa reservoir and the Isurumuniya Rock Temple, you’ll find the Ranmasu Uyana. The forty acre ancient garden was once used by royalty, and is fascinating due to its intricately carved bathing ponds, which use a number of sophisticated hydraulics to fill the pools from the Thissa Wewa; pretty clever for something constructed nearly three thousand years ago.

Sri Lanka culture

However there’s something even more interesting than this, which can be found amongst the boulders and caves near the pools. Here you’ll find a map, carved into a wall which is believed by many to be a secret code to access a ‘stargate’, alluding to a time when humans allegedly roamed the universe. The carving has drawn parallels to similar markings in Egypt and Peru, and garnered the interest of archaeologists and pre-historic investigators for many years; who have said it is more likely a carving used for meditation purposes.

Then there’s the island’s most popular tourist attraction; Sigiriya. This ancient palace and pleasure garden is built on top of a 200 metre rock dating back to the fifth century, whereas the area surrounding it has been inhabited since the 3rd century. With stunning landscaped gardens, ponds and wall murals, this complex and fascinating piece of ancient history is something you won’t forget in a hurry. Although it’s regularly frequented by tourists, it’s something you have to see to believe, so make sure you place it high on your ‘things to do in Sri Lanka’ list.

UNESCO

In amongst its beauty and soothing religious vibes, Sri Lanka houses a wide variety of UNESCO recognised World Heritage Sites. There are a total of six Heritage Sites in the country, which just adds to its mystical ancient vibes.

The UNESCO sites are:

  • ● The sacred city of Anuradhapura
  • ● The ancient city of Polonnaruwa
  • ● The golden temple of Dambulla
  • ● The ancient city of Sigiriya
  • ● The sacred city of Kandy
  • ● The old town of Galle and its fortifications

There is a seventh World Heritage Site located in Sri Lanka, the Sinharaja Forest Reserve, which is an ecological rather than ancient example, but still makes for a great day out to explore the country’s biodiversity.