Anuradhapura is considered the greatest ancient city of Sri Lanka. It remained as the capital of the kingdom to many great Sinhalese kings for more than 1000 years. This is the best place to go to, if you are to see the remnants of skilled workmanship shown by the ancient Sri Lankans in building cities.
Anuradhapura is considered as a very well planned city as deduced by the discovered ruins of the ancient buildings which can be seen today. There have been 4 walls enclosing the 256 square miles (663 km²) of the city, each wall about 16 miles (26km) long. Important buildings like the kings’ palaces, Buddhist temples, hospitals, schools and libraries and leisure gardens have been built within the city area according to a perfect pre-defined plan. Ranmasu Uyana and Magul Uyana are two of the leisure gardens that have been discovered in the preserving campaigns. Apart from these, there are many Buddha statues that are worth seeing in most of the temples around the area and the most renowned masterpiece is the “Samadhi” Buddha statue.
There are a few ponds to be seen in the city area which have been built to supply water for the citizens. Kuttam Pokuna is the most famous one for its design, built in as a combination of two square ponds. These ponds have been filled with water brought from large tanks built around the vicinity, using advanced irrigational systems. Many of such tanks are still surviving and they have amazed the whole world with the smart irrigational techniques used in building them. Nuwara Wewa, Tissa Wewa & Nachchaduwa Wewa are a few tanks built in the era.
The close relationship between Buddhism and the people those days is well displayed by the large number of temples that has been built around the city. “Sri Maha Bodhiya”, the sacred Bo tree which had been brought from India, is one of the most valued Buddhist possessions of the country. Many sky-scraping “stupas” and Buddha statues are scattered around the area which would make you feel awed at their colossal size and the trimness of the build. Ruwanweli Saya, Jetavanaramaya, Abhayagiri Dagaba, Mirisavetiya Stupa are a few famous stupas that you shouldn’t miss.
Even though most of the wonderful buildings are now in ruins due to various incidents that happened along the years, you would still see a fair amount of the great work preserved. The modern city is built including all the modern comforts and it contains luxurious hotels and guest houses to accommodate the scores of local & international pilgrims and tourists who visit the city all year through.