Booking for : Archeology


The Ancient Kingdoms

Experience the echoes of 2500 years of history in the ruins of the once powerful and architecturally magnificent kingdoms of the ancient Sinhalese kings.

There are 6 UNESCO world heritage sites of historical significance within the island, however a significant proportion of these ancient cities are still covered by jungle and it is not uncommon for an adventurous traveller trekking through the jungle to come across the ruins of an ancient monastery or palace.

There are several must see for the history buffs in the island as follows:

The Ancient City of Annuradhapura (UNESCO World Heritage listed) –

For over a thousand years the ancient city of Anuradhapura was the seat of power for the mightiest kings of Sri Lanka, this magnificent city is a story is one of great enlightenment and staggering civil works, sharing of philosophy a science as well as one of continuous wars both internal and against the expansionist ambitions of the various generations of Indian kingdoms.

Another great feat of these ancient kings were the creation of giant manmade lakes known as “Tanks” in Sri Lanka, there are three spectacular tanks in the region of Anuradhapura the most impressive being the Nuwara Wewa covering 1200 hectares of interest for the engineering feat but also for the abundance of wildlife and fauna that can be found on its shores.

The Ancient City of Polonnuruwa (UNESCO World Heritage Listed)

A seat of power for over three hundred years and over a thousand years old the ancient city of Polonnuruwa is beautifully preserved and tremendously impressive.   The seat of power moved to this city after the fall of Anuradhapura to an invading Indian kingdom known as the Cholas in the 10th century AD, the Cholas moved the seat of power to Polonnuruwa as it was considered a better strategic site to maintain their control of the island.

Polonnuruwa tends to be more impressive for a visitor as it is in a better state of repair and easier to get around mainly due to its relative youth and smaller scale in comparison to Anuradhapura and it has some of sites of great interest to the historian.  A personal favourite to the Footfalls team is the legend that a replica of a temple from the famous ancient city of Angkor Wat in modern day Cambodia to be found amongst the ruins was a gift reigning King of Angkor in honour of his daughter’s wedding to the King of Polonnuruwa.

The rock fortress Sigiriya (UNESCO World Heritage Listed)

Built by King Kassapa in 478AD is the staggering rock citadel of Sigiriya (Lion Rock), rising two hundred metres above the plains of the north central province this giant rock moonlight was converted into a pleasure palace and fortress for one of Sri Lanka’s most infamous kings. King Kassapa achieved the mantle of kingship by overthrowing and murdering his own father, in fear of his brothers retribution he moved his capital from Anuradhapura to the more defensible Sigiriya.

Sigiriya is quite simply a must see by all visitors to Sri Lanka, the beautiful gardens, giant moat and working fountains surrounding the palace are clearly visible today, equally impressive are the Sigiriya frescos depicting beautiful semi nude nymphs or some say the Kings concubines these tremendously well preserved and impressive frescos are found halfway up the rock face as you make the climb to the palace compound, it is as interesting to see the poetry and comments left by ancient vandals espousing their thoughts on the beautiful women in the frescos.

Dambulla Rock Temple (UNESCO World Heritage Listed)

Dating back to the 1st century BC the cave temples of Dambulla are built into a rock outcropping about 200 metres from road level, there creation is credited to King Valagamba had to take refuge at this place after being forced to vacate his throne at Anuradhapura, on recovery of his throne he had the interior of the caves carved to the magnificent spectacle that they are today.

Other kings of Sri Lanka contributed to the development of this temple complex, including King Nissanka Malla who had the temples gilded, resulting in it being given the local name of Ran Giri or Golden rock.

A stunning sight from a historical, religious and artistic perspective Dambulla Rock temple is well worth a visit.

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Footfalls In Pty Ltd.

21 Tennyson Road Breakfast Point,
Sydney, NSW, Australia

We are an Australian Company
Footfalls In Pty Ltd
ACN 617 560 013