Sacred city of Anuradhapura was established around a cutting from the ‘tree of enlightenment’, the Buddha’s fig tree, brought there in the 3rd century B.C. by Sanghamitta, the founder of an order of Buddhist nuns. Anuradhapura, a Ceylonese political and religious capital that flourished for 1,300 years, was abandoned after an invasion in 993. Hidden away in dense jungle for many years, the splendid site, with its palaces, monasteries and monuments, is now accessible once again.

The territory of the ancient city

Old city of Anuradhapura included in the program of preservation and development of historically important religious places in the country and is completely taken for the protection of the state. Residents living in the territory of the old town were relocated to a New Anuradhapura. The territory historically valuable monuments fenced off and restoration work are ongoing. The entrance to the old city is paid and not cheap – about $ 25. If you do not want to pay for historical ruins, there are some remnants of the ancient architecture outside the fenced area, which also can be viewed.
The area in which lies the Holy city with the entire set of monuments is huge. And to get around on foot in one day – unreal. On the territory you can stop and travel by car – it will be faster and more comfortable. Local offer by tuk tuk – about $ 20/day. Well, the most economical option – the bikes that the heat is available only for well-prepared lovers of ancient cities.

The main attractions of the ancient city:

• Temple of the sacred Bodhi tree (Bodhi Tree Temple, The Sri Maha Bodhiya), is the second largest Holy place in Sri Lanka after the temple of Tooth (Dalada Maligawa) in Kandy. The sacred tree was grown sprouts of Bodhi tree, under which he attained enlightenment as the Buddha. Wood is the oldest and historically documented tree in the world – it is constantly guarded for over 2000 years. The temple complex is surrounded by a wall, so to get to the territory is possible only through entrance fee.
• Ruwanwelisaya (a UNESCO world heritage site) is the biggest and oldest stupa in Anuradhapura, which was completely restored and painted white. At present, the stupa is the main center of worship.
• The archaeological Museum and the folklore Museum, which contains unique artifacts collected in this area as a religious and expensive, and the items are simple peasants.
• Large stupa Jetavana which is still under renovation. Its height is 120 meters. In those days it was the largest stupa in Sri Lanka and the third-tallest structure in the ancient world (after the great Pyramid at Giza).
• Citadel – secular center of the city with remains of palaces and city walls.
• Moonstone, located in the old town, Anuradhapura, is impressive in its size and decoration. In General, Lunar rocks can be found at the entrances of almost every monastery. They symbolize the movement from the pressing to the spiritual world, following to enlightenment along the way as the moon carved on the stone.
• The Western monasteries, in contrast to many of the rich and luxurious monasteries, presented to a very ascetic and show a different view on the worship of the Buddha.
• Copper Palace (Lovamahapaya). Today preserved 1600 stone pillars of the once nine-storey monastery, which is home to thousands of monks who care for the sacred Bo tree.

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