Sri Lanka, the ancient Taprobane, known until 1972 with the name of Ceylon is a splendid island nestled in the Indian ocean in south-east India. Island of spices, tea and coffee, but also of other agricultural products such as rice, vegetables, fruit and coconut palm products. Sri Lanka is a rich land with a wealth of cultures, languages, religions and races. Marco Polo called Sri Lanka the most beautiful island in the world, and even today the island has kept its beauty and variety intact. Indeed, there are numerous tourist attractions in Sri Lanka.
One of the most fascinating aspects of a visit to this beautiful island is its inhabitants: the rich history of this island is found in the population of Sri Lanka. Sinhalese, Tamils, Moors, Burgers, Malaysians and Vedda live here. Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims and Christians are found there. Sinhalese, Tamil, English are spoken, but also Creole-Malay and even, even if today it is close to extinction, Creole-Portuguese.
ANCIENT BUDDHIST CITIES
Sri Lanka is an island rich in history and the tourist who appreciates history and culture finds many opportunities to visit. The tourist attractions of Sri Lanka include several ancient cities. Very interesting is Anuradhapura, one of the ancient capitals of Ceylon. The city is famous for its well-preserved Buddhist temples. Anuradhapura was believed to have been the capital of the island between the 4th century BC. and the beginning of the 11th century. The ancient city is still considered a sacred city for Buddhists today. Polonnaruwa is another ancient royal city that dates back to the 11th century where there are fascinating remains of temples, palaces and water works.
Another sacred city for Buddhists is Kandy, located in the center of the island, which houses the famous Buddha Tooth Relic Temple (Sri Dalada Maligawa). This temple is one of the most sacred places of worship in the entire Buddhist world. Dambulla retains the largest and best-preserved Buddhist cave temple complex in Sri Lanka. Fascinating is the Sigiriya fortress, the “Lion Rock”, an ancient fortress built on a rock in the center of the island. All these sites – Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Kandy, Sigiriya and Dambulla – are part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Another UNESCO World Heritage Site, more recent but certainly not less fascinating, is the fortress of Galle. Located along the southern coast of the island, it is the best preserved example of the many fortifications built along the coast of the island. These fortifications were built between the 16th and 18th centuries, first by the Portuguese and then by the Dutch. Other Dutch and Portuguese fortifications are found in Mannar, Jaffna, Matara, Batticaloa, Trincomalee, Kalpitiya, Katuwana, etc.
Two other sites that are part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site are natural sites: the Central Highlands of Sri Lanka and the Sinharaja Forest Reserve. Natural beauty is another reason to visit the island, here you can find natural parks where you can see Asian elephants (Yala National Park, Udawalawe National Park, Minneriya National Park, Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage), where you can observe birds (Kumana National Park, Bundala National Park), or attempt to observe leopards (Wilpattu National Park). Mountain landscapes can be admired in the Horton Plains National Park. The botanical gardens are also very beautiful, the most important of which are the Royal Botanical Gardens of Peradeniya which are located near Kandy.
Among the activities of the population, fishing along the coast is of great importance. Along the southwest coast are fishermen who fish on stilts, in particular they can be seen in the area of Koggala. In the interior of the island, tea plantations with women, almost exclusively of Tamil ethnicity who collect leaves, have a great landscape charm. Religious ceremonies such as the Esala Perahera which takes place in Kandy every year in July and August are other reasons for a trip to Sri Lanka.
THE MAIN TOURIST ATTRACTIONS OF SRI LANKA ARE THE BEACHES AND THE SEA
The sea and the beaches of the island are another, if not the main, reason for visiting the island. The most developed area for seaside tourism is the south-western and southern coast of the island, in particular the coast between Negombo and Hambantota. Here are the seaside resorts of Negombo, Bentota, Kalutara, Beruwala, Hikkaduwa, Galle, Weligama, Matara, Tangalle. But even the east coast has splendid beaches such as the beaches of Batticaloa, Arugam Bay, Kalkudah, Passekudah, or the beaches north of Trincomalee.
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