With a history that dates back over 2000 years Sri Lanka has a culture that is seeped with heritage that helped mold the country into the place of wonder that it is. Sri Lanka holidays showcase this ancient influence as visitors are embraced by the warmth of her people.



Founded around 5th Century BC, Anuradhapura is the oldest city in the Cultural Triangle and Sri Lanka's first capital. In its heyday, tens of thousands of people lived in a city of royal palaces, monasteries, temples topped by glittering jewels, houses of two or three floors, shops, pleasure gardens, bathing pools and wooded parks.

Today, the restored remains of ancient Anuradhapura are dotted amidst peaceful parks to the north and west of the modern city. Among the many bell-shaped dagobas or temples are Thuparama (which enshrines a relic of Lord Buddha), and Ruwanweli, rebuilt to its original 2nd century BC bubble shape.

Other dagobas include the 1st century BC Abhayagiri and 3rd century BC Jetawana, both around 120 meters high and second in height only to Egypt's mightiest pyramids at Giza. Excavations have unearthed jewelers, sculptures, coins and other rare artifacts including seven Buddhist scriptures etched into sheets of beaten gold. Soaring towards the sky, the magnificent dagobas reached monumental proportions during the period of the kingdom of Anuradhapura, which lasted for about 1,500 years, until the 10th century AD.


Sigiriya Rock Fortress

Designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1982, Sigiriya is Asia's best preserved city of the first millennium, showing complex urban planning around the base of the rock, combined with sophisticated engineering and irrigation skills in the palace perched on the summit. It is considered it to be one of the oldest tourist attractions in the world with visitors recording their impressions in some of the earliest-known graffiti.

Built by an obsessed emperor in the 5th century, Sigiriya or Lion Rock is an astonishing feat of engineering and construction.

The most striking portion of Sigiriya, a terracotta and grey core of rock set in the cultural heart of Sri Lanka, rises a sheer 200 meters above a forested plain, its flattened summit sloping gently. A series of moats, ramparts and water gardens - remnants of an ancient city - spread out on two sides of the rock, with the remains of a pair of giant stone lion's paws still guarding the staircase that leads to the summit, once occupied by a royal palace.


Polonnaruwa was established as the capital after Anuradhapura had been invaded in the late 10th century. Under King Parakramabu, who ruled in the late 11th century, Polonnaruwa became a magnificent walled city.


The Golden Temple of Dambulla

Dating back to the First Century BC, the Golden Temple of Dambulla has been the centre of pilgrimage for Buddhists and Hindus alike for 22 centuries. It is Sri Lanka's most popular historic site. The Cave monastery, home to Buddhist monks is covered with exquisite 2,000 year-old murals depicting the life and times of the Lord Buddha. The shrines also house a collection of 157 statues of Buddha in various sizes and poses, including a 15 meter long reclining Buddha and vividly colored frescoes on the walls and ceiling, making this the largest antique painted surface in the world.


The Sacred Temple of the Tooth, Kandy

The sacred Temple of the Tooth in the historic city of Kandy houses one of Buddhism's most sacred relics and draws followers of the Buddhist faith from all over the world. The Royal Complex situated around the Temple of the Tooth and Kandy Lake - comprising of the King's Palace, the Queens Palace, the Audience Hall, the Royal Boathouse and the Royal Summer House, represent the zenith of ancient Sri Lankan architecture.


Central Highlands

Sri Lanka's Central Highlands comprising of Peak Wilderness Protected Area, the Horton Plains National Park and the Knuckles Conservation Forest has been the most recent addition to the UNESCO World Heritage list, and was designated a natural heritage site in mid 2010.


Dutch Fort, Galle

Dutch Fort at Galle, close to the island's southernmost point, 173km from Colombo, has the distinction of being the best-preserved sea fort in South Asia. A living heritage site, this 90 hectare (222 acre) attraction is a superb blend of architecture, with fortifications that resemble those in the coastal areas of Portugal. The fall of Galle to the Dutch in 1640 saw its fortifications consolidated further along the lines of the fortified cities of Europe. The Dutch and the English colonial styles are evident in the deep verandahs of houses supported by timber or masonry pillars.


Sinharaja Rain Forest

Sinharaja Rain Forest (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), the last viable remnant of Sri Lanka’s tropical lowland rainforest spanning an area of 18900 acres is located within Sabaragamuwa and Southern provinces of the south-west lowland wet zone of Sri Lanka. Sinharaja is bounded by rivers on three sides. On the north, Sinharaja is bounded by the Napola Dola and Koskulana Ganga. On the south and south-west are the rivers Maha Dola and Gin Ganga. On the west are the river Kalukandawa Ela and river Kudawa Ganga. To the east of Sinharaja is an ancient footpath near Beverley Tea Estate and by the Denuwa Kanda.