Five hidden cultural treasures of Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is a magnet for travellers looking to explore the finest cultural and historic sites in the world, with the small island containing six archaeological UNESCO World Heritage Sites alone - that’s more than Egypt.
While the main cultural gems are world famous - such as the Dambulla Cave Temple, Sigiriya Rock, Temple of the Tooth and Anuradhapura City – there are countless other hidden historic and cultural treasures waiting to be explored across the island.
We have picked five such sites which come highly recommended for your Sri Lankan tour.
Forest Monastery of Ritigala
Located within the dense, forested mountainside lays the ancient monastery of Ritigala which dates back to the 1st century.
The ancient ruins are steeped in legend and mystery and span over 60 acres across the Ritigala Mountain Nature Reserve, home to countless rare species. The ruins themselves include ancient stone paths, sunken courtyards and various platform structures dating back thousands of years.
Compared to the main attractions the site is not usually busy with tourists and being only forty kilometres away from Anuradhapura makes it a convenient and worthwhile place to visit when in this part of the island.
The port city of Trincomalee
With a history dating back two and half thousand years, the port city of Trincomalee on the east of the island has been the location of many important events throughout Sri Lanka’s history, being one of the largest natural harbours in the world and therefore being of major strategic importance.
We get many requests from our travellers when planning their customised Sri Lankan tours to visit Trincomalee, with some wanting to visit the location their parents were stationed.
The Koneswaram Temple that sites high above the bay, Lovers Leap that is a natural rock formation steeped in legend, and Fort Fredrick are the main attractions at Trincomalee – as well as the beautiful coastal scenery.
Please see part 2 of our five hidden cultural treasures of Sri Lanka to uncover the other historic sites waiting to be explored.