History and Culture

  • As a tourist exploring Sri Lanka, you’re in for a treat when it comes to historical sites.

  • Here are some of the most fascinating places that showcase the island’s rich past along with the attractive sites around that you should not miss.


Anuradhapura Sacred City is the first capital of Sri Lanka since 500 BC which was the center for Theravada Buddhism, named as a world heritage site in 1982 by UNESCO. Ruins of the history is well preserved and you can go back to history with the remaining constructions.

There are 8 important places to visit related to Buddhism in Anuradhapura, those were visited by Buddha in real and spent time. Those places are marked at the time of King Devanampiyathissa, and created Pagodas and buildings to preserve those places for future. The 8 paces (Atamsthana) are,

  1. Ruwanweli Maha Saya – The main temple it was built by king Dutugemununu with 1/8th of the Buddha’s relics left after his Parinirvana or the death constructed by King Dutugamunu in 130 BC, which is 338 feet tall. 
  2. The Sacred Bodhi Tree planted by king Dewanumpiya Thissa in 236 BS which is the oldest historical tree planted by a human in the world. The bodhi tree is a branch of the Jaya Siri Maha Bodhi Tree in in Bodh Gaya in India under which the Buddha attained enlightenment. The original tree is no longer in India, so this is the oldest. 
  3. Brazen Palace built by King Dutugemunu
  4. Mirisawetiya built by King Dutugamunu
  5. Jethavanaramaya built by king Mahasen in 276-303 AD
  6. Abayagiriya built by King Valagamba in 89 -77 BC
  7. Thuparamaya built by King Devanam Piya Thissa in 250-210 BC
  8. Lankaramaya built by King Walagamba


This is another UNESCO world Heritage Site.  This is the 2nd ancient capital of Sri Lanka which was the place for the Great King Parakramabahu. Gal Viharaya which is popular for exceptional carvings, Poth Gul Vehera, Parakramabahu Royal Palace and Nissanka Latha Mandapaya are the most popular spots here.


Kandy is the historical city which is currently the 2nd biggest city in the island. Kandy is most famous for the Temple of Sacred Tooth of Buddha, and cultural events and activities happening around this place. Temple of Tooth is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the world. Kandy Lake, Ceylon Tea Museum, Kandy View Point, Peradeniya Botanical Garden, Hanthana Mountain Range and Ambuluwawa Tower are some of most popular attractions around Kandy City. You can watch the cultural show at Kandy throughout the year, but if you visit Kandy in the month of August, you can definitely watch the famous cultural parade Kandy Perahara event which is happening for about 10 days every year.


The amazing Sigiriya Rock Fortress is UNESCO heritage site in Sri Lanka, sometimes names as the 8th wonder of the world. Located in Central Province, this is the capital made by King Kashyapa (AD 477 – 495), and on the top was his palace, walls were decorated with colorful frescoes. Entering into his palace was possible only through the mouth of a gigantic lion’s mouth, made stairs to go to the top, the path has some open-air balconies, the famous mirror wall, and on the top is the ruins of his sky palace. Around the rock there are many parks including water park with fountains, and this area is surrounded by the jungle. The rock is about 200 meters high, and climbing Sigiriya rock is one of the most popular activities in any tourist’s calendar.

Dambulla Golden Rock Cave Temple

It is only a 30 minutes’ drive from Sigiriya to Dambulla, another world heritage site in Sri Lanka, which was constructed first by King Vattagamini Abaya (103 BC and 89-77 BC). This one of the most preserved ancient cave temples, also the largest cave temple, which is still in function. There are 153 Buddha statues inside 5 caves, and walls are painted by Kandiyan artists. Dambulla rock is 600 feet high from the surrounding plains, and 2000 feet long. The cave is 125 feet long approximately and 25 feet broad.

Matale Spice Garden

The National Spice Park managed by Department of Export Agriculture is the best place to visit and buy fresh, highest quality spices at affordable rates. Sri Lanka is the home for various spices popular around the world and spices exports are a main income of the nation. You can visit this place to learn about spices, see how they are grown and harvested to produce them for selling.


Galle is the largest city in Southern Province and famous for its beautiful beaches and other tourist attractions, and it is another famous UNESCO heritage site. Many historical Dutch buildings are most popular places including Galle Fort, alle Light House, alle Clock Tower, Old Dutch Hospital, The National Museum of Galle, Ditch Church and Old Dutch Market. The famous Unavatuna beach is located couple of kilometers from Galle. In your visit to Galle, you can also see the places like Galle International Cricket Stadium which is near the beach and Turtle Hatchery Center.


Colombo is the commercial capital of Sri Lanka which is located about 20Km from its Colombo International Airport. Being the busiest city in SL , it is still cleaner and nicer than most cities around the region. Opened for public in 2019, as the tallest free-standing structure in South Asia this has come to the top among Colombo’s most favorite tourists’ spots. The National Museum, Gangaramaya temple, The Red Mosque, Galle Face Beach, Vihara Maha Devi Park, famous Kelaniya temple are other valuable attractions.