A fast information to Sri Lanka’s UNESCO points of interest

Sri Lanka is famend for its golden sand seashores and tea-plantation-coated countryside, but there are many historic websites to discover. In actual fact, there are eight World Heritage Listed areas throughout the nation, and Sri Lanka’s UNESCO points of interest present an alluring mixture of spirituality, historical kingdoms, and endemic fauna and flora.

On my first go to to the nation, actually one of the stunning Islands I’ve visited, I used to be left in awe by the dazzling seashores, verdant and lofty tea nation, and the traditional citadels and temples bejewel the nation.

With a wealthy and different historical past that has seen the island dominated by numerous monarchs and powers over time, the UNESCO points of interest of Sri Lanka vary from historical pilgrimage websites to colonial cities.

Whereas Sri Lanka has suffered lately from the worldwide pandemic and political and financial upheaval, the nation stays open for tourism, and the UK authorities has now lifted its recommendation towards journey. Nonetheless, you’ll must examine for present covid restrictions and Digital Journey Authorisation necessities (a kind of pre-arrival visa) earlier than planning your journey to this magnificent nation that captured my coronary heart.

Right here’s a fast rundown of Sri Lanka’s UNESCO points of interest, and if you wish to uncover much more causes to go to the nation, be sure you take a look at this extra in-depth Sri Lanka journey information.

Contained in the Dambulla Cave Temples, considered one of Sri Lanka’s UNESCO points of interest

Golden Temple of Dambulla

I’ll begin with my favorite of Sri Lanka’s UNESCO points of interest, the pilgrimage web site, the Dambulla Cave Temple.

For over two millennia, pilgrims have been flocking to this advanced of temples, and throughout the 5 sanctuaries, there are some extremely well-preserved cave work to be seen.

Tucked away behind the imposing Golden Buddha of Dambulla statue, the location is definitely reached from Sigiriya (which means the 2 UNESCO points of interest might be mixed), and a staircase leads as much as the caves above.

With greater than 150 statues adorning the advanced, and the magnificent Buddhist murals contained in the caves, it’s a real sight to behold and shouldn’t be missed.

Historic Polonnaruwa

Whereas the Kingdom of Polonnaruwa isn’t one of many oldest UNESCO points of interest in Sri Lanka, it doesn’t make it any much less worthy of a go to.

This was the nation’s second capital (after Anuradhapura, see beneath), serving because the nation’s helm between the eleventh and thirteenth centuries. As among the best preserved historical cities, it’s unsurprising that Polonnaruwa has earned world heritage listed standing.

Of specific fascination is the forward-thinking irrigation system constructed below the rule of King Parakramabahu. Eager to broaden the nation’s cultivation, a powerful community of water channels and reservoirs had been erected. These might be finest appreciated at Parakrama Samudra, alongside the medley of historical monuments.

Sigiriya Citadel, Sri Lanka’s UNESCO attraction excessive above

Historic Citadel of Sigiriya

Whereas this historical citadel is spectacular from afar, climbing Sigiriya is undoubtedly one of the simplest ways to understand this ‘metropolis within the clouds’, which was constructed within the fifth century. 

Perched atop ‘the Lion’s Rock’ –  which peaks at a powerful 180-metres – this historic settlement is a real masterclass in historical engineering. Sadly, a lot of what was as soon as crowning the granite peak has been misplaced; nonetheless, ruins and low partitions stay, and the panoramas throughout the Central Province spilling out beneath are spectacular.

Most attention-grabbing, to me not less than, was once more the water techniques used right here, because it’s no simple job to get water pumped as much as this peak. Equally as spectacular is the massive lion’s mouth, which dominates one of many closing staircases – you’ll definitely need to pack your digicam for this one!

Should you solely have time to go to a couple of of Sri Lanka’s UNESCO points of interest, then Sigiriya and the close by Dambulla Caves might be mixed collectively into an extended day journey.

Historic Sacred Metropolis of Anuradhapura

The guts and soul of Sri Lanka for hundreds of years, solely falling in 993 following an invasion, Anuradhapura is without doubt one of the most storied UNESCO points of interest in Sri Lanka.

Enveloped by dense jungle, the primary capital of Sri Lanka was outlined by Buddhism and has been dated again so far as the fifth century BC. Having performed house to numerous Kings over the next centuries, unsurprisingly, the town flourished, and a wealth of grand palaces, temples, shrines, and monasteries had been constructed right here.

These days, you may go to historical sacred bushes, discover lakeside temples akin to Isurumuniya, and nonetheless see climate ponds that had been used for irrigation, one other testomony to Sri Lanka’s historical engineering practices.

Old Town Galle Lighthouse
Outdated City Galle Lighthouse

Outdated City Galle

Located on a southwestern headland, the historic metropolis of Galle and its fortifications are one other of Sri Lanka’s UNESCO points of interest. The historic core tells a extra ‘current’ aspect of the nation’s historical past, particularly, the occasions of European invasion and colonisation.

Based and constructed by the Portuguese within the sixteenth century after which later fortified and developed by the Dutch. By the point the British invaded and claimed the island, Galle had grow to be well-established as a buying and selling port for spices.

This steady circulation of individuals and merchandise has led the Outdated City to develop its fashion, differing barely from the remainder of the nation. With a mixture of European and Asian structure, it’s a delight simply to spend a day wandering right here, hopping between the historic mansions, clock tower, church, and museums.

Galle, and the close by seashores, make for an ideal and peaceable base to discover this a part of the nation and uncover a few of the finest issues to do in Sri Lanka.

Inside a temple in the Sacred City of Kandy
Inside a temple within the Sacred Metropolis of Kandy

Sacred Metropolis of Kandy

Whereas the entire historical Metropolis of Kandy is World Heritage Listed, it’s the Temple of the Tooth that’s maybe the best-known motive for this vacation spot being a preferred UNESCO attraction in Sri Lanka.

An unlimited and necessary Buddhist web site that dates again to the 14th century, Kandy was the ultimate Sinhalese monarch’s capital earlier than the British took management of the nation. When you enter the advanced, you’ll really feel a serene sense wash over you, though the crowds could make this disappear fairly shortly.

You probably have the possibility to go to the Temple of the Tooth, which homes a sacred tooth from Lord Buddha, you’ll encounter the busiest a part of Kandy, because the doorways to this temple solely open 3 times each day.

Central Highlands

Whereas Sri Lanka’s UNESCO points of interest primarily give attention to historical architectural and archaeological treasures, two of the World Heritage Listed websites are pure slightly than manufactured.

Essentially the most spectacular, to me not less than, is the Central Highlands, which span throughout the nation’s south-central area. Clambering hundreds of metres above sea degree, forests line the mountainsides, and wildlife just like the Sri Lankan leopard discover refuge within the untouched quarters.

Crossing Sri Lanka’s inland magnificence is simply as majestic as lounging on the seashores, and the now iconic Kandy to Ella practice journey is without doubt one of the finest methods to traverse the luxurious and verdant inside.

Tea fields in Sri Lanka's lush interior
Tea fields in Sri Lanka’s lush inside

Sinharaja Forest

The ultimate UNESCO attraction on the listing is one I sadly didn’t make it to, the Sinharaja Forest Reserve.

A biodiverse nationwide park, its place inland from Galle means it’s not that onerous to go to location-wise. Nonetheless, to guard the wealthy fauna and flora, you may solely enter the park on foot when an authorized information escorts you.

Housing endemic bushes and endangered species of birds, wildlife, and amphibians, this nearly untouched tropical rainforest guarantees one of the pure experiences in the entire nation. Hopefully, its World Heritage Listed statues assist preserve it that method!

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