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Ancient City Anuradhapura

Documents history of Sri Lanka dates back to 3rd c. B.C.The gentle way of Buddhism introduce in 247 c. B.C. wich, transformed theIndo-Aryan Sinhalese has produced magnificent feats of architecture and construction. In the masive dagobas, the ornate pleasure gardensand palaces and the exquisite sculpture which abounds, particularly at Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa. Sri Lanka's ancient cities are also the centres of the irrigation works of the past. Massive reservoirs built to collect rain water, river diversions, giant aqueducts and miles long irrigation channels are proof of a civilization highly developed in the science of irrigation, hydraulics and water management. Most of these ancient irrigation works such as the Tissa Wewa, Basawakkulama and Nuwara Wewa at Anuradhapura; the massive Parakrama Samudhra or Sea of Parakrama, Giritale and Minneriya in the Polonnaruwa region, the Kalawewa and Balaluwewa still provide water to irrigate the rice fields of the dry zone in Sri Lanka.

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Sri Lanka's first capital, founded in the 5 c.B.C. according to the ancient / Sinhala chronicle Mahavamsa, was a model of planning with precincts set aside for huntsmen, scavengers, heretics as well as for foreigners. There were separate cemetaries for high and low castes, hostels and hospitals. Anuradhapura was an example par excellence of a Hydraulic Civilization. The construction of reservoirs, canals and irrigation channels during this period exhibited and amazing knowledge of trigonometry and the design of reservoirs a thorough grasp of hydraulic principles. The ornamental scale of the large reservoirs is compelling evidence of a thriving economy and a state structure which had resources from a agricultural surplus and profits from trade to invest in these projects as well as on religious and public buildings designed on a lavish scale. The unique feature of Buddhist Sri Lanka is the Stupa(Dagoba), which enshrined relics of the Buddha and where objects of veneration. It is generally a solid, hemispherical dome, which expresses the serenity and simplicity the quintessence of Buddhism. The 'Rajarata' - the King's country is dotted with these stupas and the picturesque lakes which has an irrisistible charm for the visitor. There are many important stupas at Anurahapura.

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Kuttam Pokuna: These twin ponds are among the handsomest works of the Anuradhapura period. The Mirisavetiya Dagoba, was built on the spot where King Dutugemunu buried his spear containing a relic of the Buddha, after celebrating his victory in battle on the shores of the Tissa Wawe.

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Abayagiri and Jethawana Stupas: (meaning mountain of valour) built by the warrior King Valagam Bahu in the 1c B.C. and Jethavana Stupa built by King Mahasen in the 3c A.D. where taller than the third pyramid of Giza and where the wonders of the world at the time, with the Jethavana probably being the largest stupa in the whole Buddhist world.

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The Samadhi Buddha: This 4c A.D. statue of the Buddha in meditation pose is acknowledged world wide as a masterpieceof sculpture. The Brazen Palace a roof of copper bestowed the name given to this building which burned down only 15 years after its construction in the 3c B.C. The 1,600 pillars in 40 rows that now mark the site are ascribed to king Parakramabahu(12c). The original building of nine graded storeys is said to have been 100 cubits square at ground level and 100 cubits high.

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The Ruwanveliseya Dagoba: built by King Dutugemunu in 2c B.C. is by far the most beautiful its white dome shinning like a pearl in the dry, arid landscape. The Thuparama Dagoba is the most ancient of Sri Lanka's dagobas and was built by King Devanampiyatissa to enshrine the Buddha's collar bone. It's present bell shape dates to reconstruction in the 1840's.

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Sri Maha Bodhi: The sacred Bodhi tree (ficus Religiosa) the world's oldest authenticated tree is the most venerated of shrines in Anuradhapura. Grown from a branch of the very Bodhi Treein Buddhagaya, India, beneath which the Buddhafound Enlightment, bought to Sri Lanka in the 3rd c.B.C. byTheri Sangamitta, sister of Arahat Mahinda. Throughout the centuries the Sri maha Bodhi has been venerated by Buddhists in Sri Lanka and all over the world. Today it is looked upon as a national treasure by botanists, specially appointed by the government. The gold gilded 'Ran Veta' is a recent offering made through public contributions. Many scholars regard the 'Moonstones', a semi cicular slab of stone richly decorated in low relief and placed at the foot of a stairway leading to the major shrine as the finest product of the Sinhalese artiste