Sacred City of Anuradhapura (1982)
Sri Lanka

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This sacred city was established around a cutting from the 'tree of enlightenment', the Buddha's fig tree, brought there in the 3rd century B.C. by Sanghamitta, the founder of an order of Buddhist nuns. 

Anuradhapura, a Ceylonese political and religious capital that flourished for 1,300 years, was abandoned after an invasion in 993. Hidden away in dense jungle for many years, the splendid site, with its palaces, monasteries and monuments, is now accessible once again. 

  • UNESCO (France) 1985. Ruwanwelisaya temple in Anuradhapura. 

UNESCO (France) 1985. Ruwanwelisaya temple in Anuradhapura., Sri Lanka.

Anuradhapura is a city in northern Sri Lanka, the capital of the North-Central Province. Founded in 437 bc, the city was the capital of a Sinhalese kingdom until the 8th century ad. Today the city is noted for extensive Buddhist ruins, including a rock-hewn temple, the Brazen Palace (2nd century), and several stupas and statues. 

Sri Lanka 1997. Buddhist Temples in Anuradhapura.  Stamp #1 of four. Sri Lanka 1997. Buddhist Temples in Anuradhapura.  Stamp #2 of four. Sri Lanka 1997. Buddhist Temples in Anuradhapura.  Stamp #3 of four. Sri Lanka 1997. Buddhist Temples in Anuradhapura.  Stamp #4 of four.

Many pilgrimages are made each year to the sacred bo tree, believed to have sprung from a branch of the tree under which the Buddha attained Enlightenment. The branch was supposedly brought from India to Sri Lanka about the middle of the 3rd century BC, the time that marks the coming of Buddhism to the island of Sri Lanka. 

Sources and links: 

Other World Heritage Sites in Sri Lanka (on this site). Please refer to the UNESCO-listing, Sri Lanka section, for further information on the individual properties. 

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Revised 21 jul 2006  
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