What to See in Anuradhapura and Galle (Sri Lanka)

Galle (Sri Lanka)

Anuradhapura (Sri Lanka)

Anuradhapura is located in the North Central Province of Sri Lanka. This city, one of the oldest in the country, was founded in 437 BC. and became the first capital of the state. He witnessed the heyday of Sri Lanka, but in the XI century. was destroyed by the rulers of the South Indian Tamil state of Chola who captured Ceylon.

The Aruvi River divides the city into the old and new parts. In the old part of the ancient Anuradhapura, numerous monuments have been preserved: the remains of ancient Buddhist temples and monasteries, palaces, artificial reservoirs. Many monuments are included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Anuradhapura is not only an ancient capital, but also a holy city. Her 7 bell-shaped Buddhist stupas, which are called dagobas here, are sacred.

In the center of the city rises the majestic Buddhist stupa Ruwanovelli (Great Stupa, Ruwanweli), dating back to the II – I centuries. BC. It is a masterpiece of Sri Lankan architecture. According to the chronicles, a competition for the best project was announced and one of the five hundred proposed was selected. The winning architect, in response to the king’s question about what kind of stupa he would build, asked to bring a golden vessel of water. Picking up water in his hands, he poured it back into the vessel, where a large bubble formed, and he replied: “This is how I will build it.” Unfortunately, after multiple restorations, the stupa has lost its original shape. The foot of the stupa, with a diameter of more than 80 m, is entirely decorated with carved stone figures of elephants. Inside are Buddha statues made of precious metals.

Thuparama Stupa, built in the 3rd century BC. BC, is the oldest temple in the city. It is believed that the clavicle of the Buddha was kept here.

Monastery Abhayagiri (Abhayagiri) is located in the northern part of the ancient city and covers an area of about 235 hectares. Its 115 m high main stupa is the second largest in all of Sri Lanka. It was built over the footprint of the Buddha.

And the highest, both in the country and around the world, is the Buddhist stupa Jetavana (Jetavana). Its height is 120 m. At the end of the 3rd century AD, during construction, it was the third largest monument in the world, second only to the pyramids of Cheops and Kafren. It is generally accepted that a fragment of the sash with which the Buddha was girded was immured in the mortar.

The cave monastery of Isurumuniya (5th – 8th century) is famous for its wonderful carvings on the outer walls.

The highlight of Anuradhapura is a sacred Bo tree growing on the grounds of the Lankarma temple. According to legend, it grew from the branch of the tree under which the Buddha attained enlightenment. The offshoot was brought from India in the 3rd century. BC, thus Bo is the oldest tree in the world.

Mirisaveti Stupa was built to commemorate the victory of King Dutugemunu over the Tamil king of Eral. The legend says that before the battle, Dutugemunu decided to take a dip and, before entering the water, he stuck his scepter with the relic enclosed in it into the sand. Coming out of the water, the king wanted to take the scepter, but could not. Considering this a good sign, he ordered that a stupa be built over the scepter.

11 km east of the city in the town of Mihintale rise 4 mountains, where the conversion took place Sri Lankan to Buddhism. King Devanampiyatissa (247 BC) built the first Buddhist monastery here. Climbing up the 1840 steps, you can see many buildings that were part of a large monastery complex: a hospital, pavilions, a dining room for monks, pools, chapels, stupas.

50 km south of Anuradhapura is the statue of Aukan Buddha. This is one of the best Buddha sculptures in South Asia. The 13-meter statue, carved from a single stone, dates back to the 5th century. n. e. Despite its colossal size, the proportions of the statue are so perfect that raindrops falling from the nose land with millimeter accuracy in the middle between the soles of the feet.

Galle (Sri Lanka)

According to shoefrantics, Galle is a port city on the south coast of Sri Lanka. It was founded in the 16th century by the Portuguese, but the architecture of the city shows the influence of the Dutch. The main attraction of Halle is the Dutch fort, which covers an area of 36 hectares. Along the perimeter, it is surrounded by massive walls; the buildings inside the fort are almost all destroyed. From the old lighthouse there is a beautiful view of the city.

In Galle, it is interesting to see the Dutch Church of the 18th century, the Dutch Museum with exhibits from colonial times and the Maritime Museum with ship models, maps and other exhibits.

Unuwatuna Beach is located 5 km from the city. It is surrounded by coral reefs, so the sea is calm here. Close to Galle there is a turtle farm where turtle eggs collected from the coast are brought, and later the hatched turtles are released into the ocean.

Galle (Sri Lanka)