The remains of the ancient sacred city of Anuradhapura are sited about 130 miles (205km) north of Colombo, standing majestically in the jungle that for generations hid away the palaces, monasteries and monuments, which have been there since the third century BC. The ancient city was capital of the island for more than 10 centuries, until an invasion in the year 993, having initially been founded around a fig tree grown from a cutting of Buddha's 'tree of enlightenment'. The remains visible today consist of several magnificent dagobas (domes built to enshrine sacred relics), sculptures, carvings, ruined palaces and monasteries, bathing ponds and irrigation tanks. Tourist facilities and hotels are available in the nearby 'new town' of Anuradhapura. A recommended way to view the many scattered archaeological treasures is to hire a bicycle, or travel between sights on a 'Tuk-tuk'.
Opening times: Daily 8am-5pm.