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Sigiriya, Sri Lanka. Author Claire Rowland (clurr). Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution
Sigiriya, Sri Lanka. Author Claire Rowland (clurr)

Sri Lanka: beaches, precious stones and tea plantations

Sri Lanka (Sri Lanka Prajatantrika Samajavadi Janarajaya/Ilankai Sananayaka Sosalisa Kudiyarasu, Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka) is an island state of South Asia, which occupies the entire island of Ceylon, located in the Indian Ocean north of the equator and south of India.

The Palk Strait and the Gulf of Mannar separate the island from the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. The administrative capital of the country is the city of Colombo, located along the south-western coast and the legislative and judicial capital is Sri Jayewardenepura-Kotte.

Apart from the capital city Colombo important cities along the south-western coast are Negombo, Dehiwala-Mount Lavinia, Galle, Matara. In the interior of the island-country there is the city of Kandy. Jaffna lies in the north and along the east coast there are the ports of Trincomalee and Batticaloa.

Sri Lanka Map

Sri Lanka Map

The island – mostly flat – consists of large coastal plains. The northern part is flat and covered with savannahs and the only mountainous area of the country is the central-southern zone made up of plateaus and mountains that rise above 2,000 metres. Here are the Adams Peak (Sri Pada, 2,243 metres) and Pidurutalagala, the highest mountain in Sri Lanka (2,524 metres). The longest river of Sri Lanka is the Mahaweli Ganga (332 km).

The base of Sri Lankan economy is the agriculture. Among the most important crops are rice, tea (one of the leading world producers), rubber, palm trees (coco nuts, oil and copra), spices (cardamon, citronella, pepper, cinnamon), cassava, sweet potato, tobacco, cotton, coffee, vegetables and fruits. Important activities are the production of timber and fishing. Resources of the subsoil are modest: graphite, precious stones like rubies, sapphires, beryl, topazes. The industry is largely related to the processing of agricultural products and to the manufacture of textiles. On the south-western coast of the island tourism is an important factor of the economy.

English text correction by Dietrich Köster. 

  • Area: 65,610 sq km (Arable land 29%, Pastures 7%, Forests and Woodlands 32%, Uncultivated and Unproductive land 32%)
  • Population: 20,700,000 (2006 data) (Singhalese 74%, Sri Lanka Tamil 12%, Moors 8%, Indian Tamil 5%, Burghers 0,4%)
  • State Capital: Colombo (Sri Jayawardenapura).
  • Languages: The official languages are Singhalese and Tamil. English is widely spoken.
  • Religion: Buddhist 70%, Hinduist 13%, Muslim 9%, Christian 7% (Catholic 6%, Protestant 1%).
  • Currency: Sri Lanka Rupee (LKR)
  • Time: UTC+5.30 hours.

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