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Ancient cities in Sri Lanka

Ancient City of Polonnaruwa

Polonnaruwa is a Unesco World Heritage Site, and it was the second capital of Sri Lanka after the destruction of Anuradhapura in 993. During its time as a capital, Polonnaruwa was ruled by the Kings Vijayabahu I, Parakramabahu the Great and King  Nissanka Malla. All three of these rulers devoted themselves to fostering agriculture, religion and social development and the kingdom prospered under their reign during this era.

What to see in Polonnaruwa

The Royal Palace
In the center of the complex are the ruins of the Royal Palace, built by King Parakramabahu the great (1164-1196 AD).

 Gal Viharaya
“Gal Viharaya” is an ancient  rock temple consisting of a group of Buddha Statues built by King Parakramabahu in the 12th Century. There are four images of the Buddha, which have been carved into the face of large granite rock.

 Sacred Quadrangle / Vatadage
A sacred quadrangle is a compact group of beautiful and well-preserved ruins. Built by Parakramabahu, it was later embellished by the crafty Nissankamalla, who placed an inscription on the upper terrace claiming credit for the whole building.

Pabalu Vehera & Rankoth Vehera
Pabalu Vehera was built by one of King Parakramabahu’s wives, Queen Rupawathi. Rankoth Vehera is the largest and most important stupa in the ancient city of Polonnaruwa..

 Lankatilaka
The Lankatilaka Vihara is an imposing temple dedicated to Buddha built by King Parakramabahu (1153-1186). The building is entirely composed of bricks and its exterior walls are covered with elaborate sculptures. The Buddha statue, which sits at the bottom of the temple, is also made entirely of clay bricks and measures 12.5 meters in height. Flat bricks were specially made for this statue. Today, the upper part of the shoulder is destroyed.