Sri Lanka UNESCO World Heritage
Mainly eight sites of Sri Lanka have been described in the UNESCO World Heritage and they are,
The ancient city of Polonnaruwa (1982)
The second most ancient of Sri Lanka’s kingdoms, By King Vijayabahu I Polonnaruwa was first declared the capital city. King Vijayabahu I defeated the Chola invaders in 1070 CE to reunite the country again under a local leader. While Vijayabahu’s victory and shifting of Kingdoms to Polonnaruwa is considered important, the real Polonnaruwa Hero of the history books is actually his grandson, Parakramabahu I. The city Polonnaruwa was also called as Jananathamangalam during the short Chola period.
However, with the exception of his immediate successor, Nissankamalla I, all other royal family of Polonnaruwa, were slightly weak and rather prone to picking fights within their own court. They also went on to form more close matrimonial grouping with stronger South Indian Kingdoms, until these matrimonial links superseded the local royal family and gave rise to the Kalinga invasion by King Magha in 1214 and the eventual passing of power into the hands of a Pandyan King following the Arya Chakrawarthi invasion of Sri Lanka in 1284. The capital was then moved to Dambadeniya.
The ancient city of Polonnaruwa remains one of the best planned Archaeological sites in the country.
The ancient city of Sigiriya (1982)
Sigiriya fortress- Sri Lanka’s most popular tourist destination is ‘Sigiriya’ – A 5th century rock fortress created like a crouching lion. The name sigiriya comes from Sinhalese word “Singha Giri” or “Lion Rock” Sigiriya has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1982, Sigiriya marks everything from ancient Sri Lankan history, such as culture, art effects, architecture, views of nature. Sigiriya is also the location for Arthur C Clerks ‘Fountains of Paradise’. According to Sri Lankan history Sigiriya, was made by King Kassapa I (477 – 495 AD). Kassapa was the son of King Dhatusena (Anuradhapura 459 to 477 AD). King Dhatusena was removed from power and walled in, alive by Kasyapa in 473 AD. Mogallana, Dhatusena’s son of the real queen escape to India, promising revenge. Kasyapa fearing of the promising revenge built this secure fortress at Sigiriya. Sigiriya is the best example as an architectural wonder and the best example of ancient Sri Lankan civil engineering. Designs of parks, ponds, and pavilions are brilliant. Also a good example for eco-designs.
The Golden Temple of Dambulla (1991)
Dambulla Cave Temple- Named as a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1991, Dambulla Cave Temple also named the Golden Temple of Dambulla is the prime and best-preserved cave temple compound in island. Placed in Dambulla, ,Dambulla Cave Temple has 5 important caves, each of cave contains statues of the Buddha and historic artwork describing the Buddha’s life. The largest cave carries some 48 statues of Lord Buddha . with some statues of Hindu Gods., when Hinduism took root in Sri Lanka and started influencing the arts Dambulla Cave Temple is a good example for it. The history of the caves goes back to the 2nd or 1st century B.C., when King Valagam Bahu who was escaping the invading army that drove him out of Anuradhapura, took refuge in these caves
The old town of Galle and its fortifications (1988)
Galle -Founded in the 16th century by the Portuguese, Galle reached the height of its development in the 18th century, before the arrival of the British. It is the best example of a fortified city built by Europeans in South and South-East Asia, showing the interaction between European architectural styles and South Asian traditions.
The sacred city of Anuradhapura (1982)
Anuradhapura- Anuradhapura, a Sri Lankans political and religious capital that flourished for 1,300 years, was abandoned after an invasion in 993. Hidden away in dark forest for many years, the magnificent site, with its palaces and monuments, is now reachable once again. The Anuradhapura city is one of the most important holy places of Buddhism. Anuradhapura demonstrates in a unique and specific way to the Sinhalese civilization. On several occasions the city was submitted to the attacks from southern India – Tamils, Cholas, etc. It stands as a permanent manifesto of the culture of Sri Lanka. The holy city exerted a considerable influence on the development of architecture during several centuries. It includes amazing monuments, mainly the Dagabas of gigantic size, placed on rounded foundations and surrounded by a ring of huge columns, characteristic of the Sinhalese stupas.
The sacred city of Kandy (1988)
Kandy-.Sri Lanka’s hill capital is situated 488 meters above sea level and in the center of the island and surrounded by the ranges of mountains. Kandy was established in the 14th century and became the nation’s capital in the 16th century. Was the last capital of the Sinhala Kings. Kandy is also known as mahanuwara, senkadagala pura. The name Kandy comes from the word kanda which means mountais,it got this name because of the geographical location.
Temple of Tooth Relic–also named Dalada Maligawa, is believed to house the left upper canine tooth of the Lord Buddha himself. A beautiful creation made in the 17th century, one of the most sacred places in Sri Lanka.
The city is a world heritage site declared by UNESCO, in part due to the temple.
TheSinharaja Forest Reserve (1988)
Sinharaja Forest Reserve is a national park in Sri Lanka. It is of international significance and has been designated a Biosphere Reserve and World Heritage Site by UNESCO.The hilly virgin rain forest, part of the Sri Lanka lowland rain forests eco region, was saved from the worst of commercial logging by its reserve, and was designated a World Biosphere Reserve in 1978 and a World Heritage Site in 1989. The reserve’s name translates as Kingdom of the Lion.The reserve is only 21 km (13 mi) from east to west, and a maximum of 7 km (4 mi) from north to south, but it is a treasure trove of species, including trees, insects, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals.Because of the thick plants, wildlife is not as easily seen as at dry-zone national parks such as Yala. There are no elephants, and the 15 or so leopards are rarely seen. The commonest larger mammal is the endemic Purple-faced Langur.
The Central Highlands of Sri Lanka (2010).
Central Highlands of Sri Lanka is the newest World Heritage Site in Sri Lanka. On 31 July 2010, the World Heritage Committee holding its 34th session in Brasília inscribed Central Highlands of Sri Lanka as new World Heritage Sites. The site contains the Peak Wilderness Protected Area, the Horton Plains National Park and the Knuckles Conservation Forest. These are rain forests, where the elevation reaches 2,500 metres (8,200 ft) above sea level. The region has a variety of mammal species including the Bear Monkey and the Horton Plains Slender Loris