Sri Lanka is not just a tropical beach paradise; it has a remarkable history and culture which can be glimpsed into by exploring its historic cities. The Cultural Triangle, located in the northern interior of the island has the most rich collection of Sri Lanka’s medieval history. It consists of four UNESCO World Heritage Sites – Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Sigiriya, and Dambulla.
In the northern corner of the cultural triangle is the sacred city of Anuradhapura, which was the first ancient capital of Sri Lanka. It is also one of the greatest civilisations in the world with preserved ruins dating back to 4th century BC. Polonnaruwa marks the east corner of the triangle, and is significant as it was the second ancient capital of Sri Lanka. Here you can see the impressive ruins of palaces, irrigation systems and sanctuaries that have survived several hundred years.
The centre of the triangle has two historic cities; the rock fortress of Sigiriya and the cave temples of Dambulla. Sigiriya is the ruins of an ancient rock palace on top of a dramatic 180m high granite rock. It is a challenging climb to the top but you will be rewarded with remarkable views. The temple in Dambulla has five caves that contain over 150 Buddhist statues, murals and frescoes.