Sri Lankan Cultural Sites
With six archaeological UNESCO World Heritage Sites, there is a treasure trove of cultural sites in Sri Lanka to visit, especially within the so-called Cultural Triangle which contains some of the world’s finest ancient monuments.
Packed into the Cultural Triangle is the imposing Sigiriya Rock Fortress, a colossal plateau of rock home to King Kasyapa’s ancient palace and beautifully decorated with colourful frescoes. The stunning gardens around the rock fortress are thought to be among the oldest landscaped gardens in the world.
The ancient ruined cities of Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa are Si Lankan cultural sites brimming with the remains of historic buildings and the famous dome-shaped dagobas. When sightseeing in Anuradhapura be sure to pay a visit to Ruwanwelisaya, the largest and most ancient stupa which is still in use to this day as a place of worship.
No tour of Sri Lanka’s cultural sites would be complete without a visit to the Dambulla Cave Temple, a two thousand year old cave complex containing magnificent and vividly coloured statues and paintings of Buddha and past kings. Dambulla is the largest and best conserved cave temple in Sri Lanka and famous worldwide.
All of our pre-planned and custom tours of Sri Lanka take in the majority of the renowned cultural sites, including those within the Cultural Triangle.
Learn more about a cultural site in Sri Lanka
Being the most popular historic site in Sri Lanka, a tour of Sigiriya Rock Fortress is highly recommended. The ancient rock fortress is an imposing column of 650 feet tall rock which dominates the surrounding landscape.
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.
Granted World Heritage status in 1991, taking a Dambulla cave temple tour is a highlight of any Sri Lanka trip with it being the largest and best conserved cave temple in Sri Lanka and renowned worldwide.
A World Heritage site and treasure trove of historic relics, the ancient City of Polonnaruwa is among the best planned archaeological sites in Sri Lanka and is not to be missed during your Sri Lankan tour.
The stunning Temple of the Tooth in the ancient capital Kandy is a magnet for pilgrims and tourists alike. It is the most visited temple in the whole of Sri Lanka and is the only temple in the world with a tooth relic of Buddha himself.
Unquestionably the cultural capital of the southern coast of Sri Lanka, Galle Fort is a World Heritage Site steeped in history dating back to the 16th century that is a must see when visiting the island.
The city of Panduwasnuwara is an ancient capital of Sri Lanka and has a rich collection of historic ruins that spread out over 20 hectares.
The main attraction of Yapahuwa is the steep ornamental staircase, flanked by sculptures of lions and the ancient walls with their sculptured female figurines.
Trincomalee is a famous port city situated on the east coast of Sri Lanka. It boasts one of the largest natural harbours in the world which has long been of major strategic importance throughout the islands history, being held by the Portuguese, the Dutch, the French and the British.
One of the oldest and most sacred Buddhist temples in Sri Lanka, the Aluvihare Rock Temple is a treasure trove of ancient relics from the 3rd century BC right up until the present day.
Avukana is the tallest Buddha statue in Sri Lanka, standing 12 metres tall. Located in the village of Avukana (close to Kekirawa), central Sri Lanka, the imposing statue dates back to the 5th century and is one of the best and most well preserved statues on the island.
In Sri Lanka’s ancient capital of Gampola sits three revered Buddhist temples – Embekke, Lankatilaka and Gadaladeniya.
A collection of five individual temples, the Munneswaram Temple Complex near Chilaw is a particularly important site for Hindus in Sri Lanka and is thought to date back to as early as 1000 CE.
While you’re exploring the historic treasures situated within the Cultural Triangle region of Sri Lanka, be sure to schedule a stop off at the Muthumariamman Temple in Matale.
On the forested mountainside sits the ancient monastery of Ritigala, whose mysterious ruins date back to the 1st century and are steeped in legend.