Founded 2600 years ago, Anuradhapura was long the capital. You can visit the well-preserved ruins, which are Unesco World Heritage Site.
The Isurumuniya temple (the oldest on the island) and the Sri Maha Bodhi tree, one of the most sacred relics in Sri Lanka, are worth seeing.
Called by many names including “The Lion Rock” for its initial name of “Sinhagiri”, Sigiriya is near the town of Dambulla and is a colossal column of rock nearly 200m high. It was a royal citadel for 18 years (477-495) when it was fortified by King Kasyapa. The architectural and irrigational technologies of Sigiriya, such as the Water Gardens, still baffle engineers. The climb up steep steps of metal with railings passes a wall decorated with frescoes of bare-breasted women. Art experts consider them unique.
UNESCO World Heritage Site and former capital of Sri Lanka after Anuradhapura. An ancient city with well preserved partly statues and temples.
The ancient kingdom of Kandy is home to the Temple of the Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha as well as Edwardian buildings, a king-made lake, a nature reserve and exciting shops.
As the second largest city of the island and the capital of the Central Province, Kandy has grown from being a medieval kingdom to a friendly, busy city set in forested hills and surrounded by tea plantations and close to the Royal Botanical Gardens at Peradeniya. As well as the Temple of the Tooth, there are many Buddhist monasteries and Hindu places of worship to visit, and cultural dance performances to watch.
Kandy is a convenient base to stay for a few days while exploring the Cultural Triangle as there are comfortable hotels to suit every budget. The city is easily accessible from Colombo by rail, road and float plane