Sri Pada Mountain Range

UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Sri Lanka

March 30, 2020
Heritage sites

A UNESCO World Heritage Site is an important landmark in the world chosen by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization as a protected area. The places selected to be UNESCO World Heritage Sites are usually in a historical location with cultural and anthropological importance. Sri Lanka is home to eight such sites six cultural and two natural. Keep reading to find out what they are, and plan your trip!

1982 First UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Sri Lanka

In 1982, three cultural sites in Sri Lanka were inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, The Ancient City of Polonnaruwa, the Ancient City of Sigiriya, and the Sacred City of Anuradhapura. Today, Sri Lanka has eight cultural sites inscribed on the UNESCO Heritage Listed, including the Golden Temple of Dambulla (1991), the Old Town of Galle and its Fortifications (1988), and the Sacred Temple of Kandy (1988). UNESCO has also listed two Sri Lankan natural sites on the World Heritage Listed, the Central Highlands of Sri Lanka (2010) and the Sinharaja Forest Reserve (1988).

8 Epic UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Sri Lanka

Anuradapura Ancient City


Although people may have lived in this area since as early as the 10th century BC, Anuradhapura became a great city after the arrival of a cutting from the Bodhi Tree (‘tree of enlightenment), the Buddha’s fig tree, in the 3rd century BC. The sacred branch was brought to Sri Lanka by Sanghamitta, the founder of an order of Buddhist nuns.

Ancient City of Polonnaruwa


Polonnaruwa was the country’s capital from the 11th– 13th Century. Polonnaruwa Sri Lanka is considered one of the best preserved historic cities in the world. Polonnaruwa was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, due to its abundance of historic remains.

Sigiriya Lion Rock & Kingdom


One knows that Sigiriya Sri Lanka is the Eighth Wonder of the World.! Prepare yourself for a little challenge and conquer the 1200+ steps to the top. Don’t get scared, this is an absolute you must visit in Sri Lanka! The climb is marked with good paths and stairs. The start at the terraces gardens gives you the most impressive perspective of the rock.

Dambulla Royal Cave Temple


The largest and best-preserved cave temple complex in Sri Lanka, the rock from which the caves were carved towers 160 meters (520 ft) over the surrounding plains. Major attractions are spread over five caves which contain statues and paintings of Lord Buddha and his life. A total of 153 Buddha statues, three statues of Sri Lankan kings and four statues.

Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic Kandy


Temple of the tooth relic better known as “Sri Dalada Maligawa”. The Holy Temple of the Tooth at Kandy is the prime monument, the supreme edifice not only of the Sinhalese Buddhist populace of Sri Lanka but also of the Buddhists all over the world. It is within this magnificent temple that sacred Danta Dhatu (Sinhala -Tooth Relic of Buddha) the palladium of the Sinhalese Buddhist nation is enshrined.

Central Highlands Of Sri Lanka.


The Central Highlands of Sri Lanka were labelled as a World Heritage Site in 2010 in recognition of the site’s values within one of the world’s richest attentions of biodiversity. Sri Lanka’s highlands are situated in the south central part of the island. The property comprises the Peak Wilderness Protected area (Sri Pada Forest) and the Horton Plains National Park. These Mountain forests, water falls, where the land rises to 2,500 meters above sea level

Sinharaja Rain Forest, Sri Lanka


The Sinharaja Forest Reserve currently spans 8,864 hectares (21,903 acres) in the island’s southwest and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988 because of its rich and unique plant and animal life. Sinharaja, the largest great lowland Rain forest in Southern Asia is the richest store of biodiversity in Sri Lanka making it a unique site for scientists, naturalists and Eco tourists.

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