Sri Lanka has a two and a half millennium of history. There are several historical-significant attractions available in Sri Lanka. Top historical places in Sri Lanka include Kandy, Sigiriya, Anuradhapura, Galle, Polonnaruwa, Cave Temple Dambulla, Sinharaja Forest, and the Central Highlands. One of the oldest continually inhabited settlements in the world is Anuradhapura. At the centre of the spiritual importance of this city is the Sacred Bodhi Tree, which originated from a cutting transported from Bodh Gaya in India.The remains of the ancient fortress Sigiriya are thought to be the most potent historical sites. It is a fortress and a castle all at once.The Temple of the Tooth, located in Kandy, holds great religious significance for both Sri Lankans and tourists from across the globe. The Golden Temple is a well-known landmark in Dambulla. It also has some historic temples and caverns. Here is our selection of Sri Lanka’s most important historical places.
1. Galle Fort
Galle Fort, which is situated on Sri Lanka’s southwest coast, is a potent reminder of the country’s colonial past. This fort is rich in history since it was influenced by the Dutch, Portuguese, and British and is recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Galle Fort was constructed in the sixteenth century. The Galle Fort has quaint lanes with a lot of old structures. You may also take your time browsing the various quaint stores, cafés, and art galleries that are located in Galle Fort during your visit of Sri Lanka. Without a question, one of the best sites to see in Sri Lanka is this fort.
One of Sri Lanka’s most important historical places is Anuradhapura, which is home to several historic palaces, monasteries, and monuments. It is well-known for its enormous dagobas, or brick stupas, historic lakes and ponds, and stately temples. The city was established as Sri Lanka’s first capital in 377 BC. Anuradhapura gained notoriety as a political and economic powerhouse during this same period.
For those who are interested in archaeology, Belilena is one of the most well-known historical sites in Sri Lanka. The site has evidence of prehistoric people dating back 32,000 years, which have been identified as the Balangoda Man. Eight miles from Kitugala, Belilena was declared an Archaeological Reserve by the Sri Lankan Archaeological Department. Along with some ancient artefacts and bones from game animals like deer and boars, among others, the site also showed evidence of fire use dating back up to 30,000 years.
4. Dambulla Cave Temple
The Golden Dambulla Cave Temple has developed into a pilgrimage attraction in the last 22 years. Although there are other cave shrines on the island, this one is the oldest and best-preserved. The remarkable wall murals and more than 150 sculptures within and outside the shrine were preserved when the Dambulla Cave Temple was classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1991.
5. Jaffna Fort
Remaining from Sri Lanka’s colonial past, the renowned Jaffna Fort commands a stunning view of the city’s shimmering lagoon, where you can explore its crumbling walls, moats, and breathtaking gates. Constructed by the Portuguese in 1618, the fort was altered by Dutch colonists in 1680 to take on the shape of a pentagon, which is a representation of traditional Dutch architecture. The fort is being progressively restored following years of conflict in order to preserve this priceless relic from the nation’s past.
6. Adam’s Peak
Nestled within the verdant woods of Sri Lanka’s hill region lies the majestic 2,243-meter top of Adam’s Peak. There is a lot of mystery surrounding this remarkable natural feature, and there is a legend that the Buddha’s footprint is located at the top. It is among the most well-known pilgrimage locations in Sri Lanka as a result. In general, it is preferable to approach Adam’s Peak in Sri Lanka at night since the breathtaking views are less masked by mist and fog. It is one of the historical sites in Sri Lanka that is highly recommended that you visit.
7. Polonnaruwa Vatadage
Sri Lanka has a city called Polonnaruwa. In the renowned Dalada Maluwa quadrangle of Polonnaruwa, an ancient city of ruins, lies a well-preserved Vatadage. In Sri Lanka, vatadages are prevalent Buddhist establishments. These are square, constructed of brick and stone, and feature a wooden roof along with ornate stone carvings. Their purpose was to protect stupas. Ten vaitadages, the most well-known of which is the Polonnaruwa Vatadage, presently exist in Sri Lanka and serve to symbolise the nation’s cultural legacy.
8. Temple of teeth relics
Sri Lanka’s Temple of the Tooth Relic, which holds the tooth relic of Buddha, is another important World Heritage Site. The temple is situated next to Kandy Lake, close to the contemporary area of the Kandy region. The fabled tooth is kept hidden in a gold casket that is a part of a set of six caskets that get smaller with time, making it invisible to visitors. Still, the complex is a great place to visit, with exquisite temples and shrines that provide stunning views of the shimmering Kandy Lake. Thousands of visitors from both local and foreign countries visit the shrine each day.
9. The Rock Fort of Sigiriya
One of the most famous and most likely dramatic historical places in Sri Lanka is the old rock fortress of Sigiriya, which is classified by UNESCO. Built in 495 AD, Sigiriya rises impressively above the green trees and served as King Kasyapa’s beautiful frescoed palace. For the best views of Sigiriya Rock itself, ascend Pidurangala Rock on the opposite side, or go to the top of Sigiriya to see the ancient ruins.
A landmark in Sri Lanka, this Buddhist temple dates back to the tenth century and has some of the most intricate sculptures of the Buddha and his companions. Due to the abundance of sculptures within the temple, it was known as “Buduruvagala,” which translates to “Rock of Buddhist Sculptures,” despite the fact that many details surrounding it are still unknown, including its actual name. The Monaragala district temple is home to one of Sri Lanka’s biggest Buddha sculptures, measuring sixteen metres in height.