Sightseeing in Anuradhapura City
Sri Lanka is renowned for her ancient ruins and point of culture, and a day spent sightseeing in Anuradhapura city is a great way to immerse yourself in Sri Lanka’s history.
First established in the fourth century BC, the city of Anuradhapura is one the ancient capitals of Sri Lanka, is among one of the oldest continually inhabited cities in the world and today is famous for its historic ruins, archaeological wonders and other points of interest.
Now a UNESCO World Heritage site, Anuradhapura contains a rich collection of ancient ruins and the remains of many monastic buildings – including the Brazen Palace which dates back to the second century BC.
Anuradhapura points of interest
There are many points of interest to visit during your sightseeing in Anuradhapura so be sure to wear a comfortable pair of shoes. You’ll be free to explore these remarkable sites during your pre-planned or tailored Sri Lanka tours with us.
Anuradhapura contains the sacred Bodhi tree, an alleged cutting from the original Bodhi tree under which Buddha gained enlightenment. The Bodhi Tree Temple is among the most sacred places in the country and the Bodhi tree there has been guarded for over two thousand years.
Given the wealth of culture and history Anuradhapura contains and has since been excavated, a trip to The Archaeology Museum is a great way to spend a couple of hours. The museum displays a fascinating collection of artefacts found at the site, including pottery, jewellery and coins.
The best preserved dagoba (stupa) at Anuradhapura is the Ruwanwelisaya, which is still a place of worship to this day. The building is fully revived, painted white and is an architectural wonder. It should be stressed that Ruwanwelisaya remains an active place of worship and you should always remain respectful of the worshipers you’ll likely encounter during your sightseeing trip to Anuradhapura. The Ruwanwelisaya is particularly noted for its gleaming white façade and also for its frieze of elephants.
Another notable dagoba in Anuradhapura is the Jetavanarama dagoba. When built it was the tallest Stupa in Anuradhapura city standing at 400ft high. It was the tallest stupa in the ancient world, and actually the third tallest structure in the entire world, surpassed only by the Great Pyramids at Giza. Sadly, it has now lost some of its top, and is therefore no longer the tallest in Anuradhapura but it is still the largest, with a base-area of 233,000m2. It is also the tallest and largest structure made entirely of bricks anywhere on earth with approx. 93.3 million baked bricks. It has been calculated, that if you used all the bricks, you could build a 3m high wall from London to Edinburgh!
The Brazen Palace, so called because the roof was once covered by bronze tiles, is located beside the road leading to the Bodhi Tree Temple. Today we can still see many of the sixteen hundred pillars that once supported the gigantic nine-story Buddhist monastery. One of the jobs of the one thousand monks that once lived at the Brazen Palace, was to tend to the sacred Bodhi Tree.