Name: Phrase consists of Sanskrit
words - "Sri" means saint and
"Lanka" means an island.
Geography: The island of Sri Lanka
is the 25th island for his size in
the world. It's located near the
south- east coast of the Indian
subcontinent underground. Size: 433
km from North to South, 244 km from
East to West. Area: 66,000 sq km.
Highest Mountain: Piduruthalagala,
rises over Nuwara Eliya at the
height of 2524 metres.
There are hundreds of rivers and
streams on the island. The largest
river is Walawe Ganga, flowing along
860 km, from Adams Peak to
Capital City: Colombo.
Population: about -19.9 million
people, only fourth of them live in
Sinhalese count 72% of the
population; the vast majority of
them are Buddhists.
Tamil counts 18% of the population,
the vast majority of them are
Hindus. There are
9% count Muslim population, the
descendants of Muslim traders who
frequently visited the island.
Literacy Percent: 99%
Official Languages: Sinhala, Tamil
Regime: The Socialist Republic.
Elections are held in various
districts during the year.
President, who is also serving as
commander of the army and head of
government, is elected every four
Voltage: 220 volts
Calling Code: 0094
Climate and seasons are recommended
Sri Lanka, which lies close to the
equator, is characterized by
There are two Monsoons in Sri Lanka.
It is between May and August. When
the western and southern parts are
under the influence of monsoon
region's dry season is from December
From October to January the northern
and eastern parts of the island are
rainy. Dry season lasts there from
May to September. It means that at
any given moment there are sunny
beaches and places to walk.
The average temperature of beaches
is 30-25 degrees, making it possible
to travel at the rainy season.
In the highlands of Kandy and Nuwara
Eliya the average temperature is
22-16 degrees, and the nights are
Amounts of rainfall in the south
reach -3500-4000 mm per year,
compared with the dry region that
gets "only" 1000 mm per year.
Tropical vegetation accompanies the
traveler wherever he goes. The
various forms of green, which is the
dominant colour on the island, are
giving a feeling of natural
greenhouse throughout the year.
History – General
Sri Lanka has a long and rich
history, local culture and mix of
cultures imported by the royal
dynasties that ruled the island. The
following huge structures were built
here: palaces, castles, cities and
towns, water systems and huge
reserves for the rainfalls - some
are still in use. Some of the
buildings were abandoned and covered
partly by the jungle, and only in
the early 20th century began their
exposure. Enthusiasts of archeology
and ancient cultures will be
interested mainly in the cultural
triangle that is on the north - east
of the island. Sigiriya,
Anuradhapura Polonnaruwa tell the
stories of the ancient kingdoms.
We'll try to review the main
cornerstones in the history of Sri
Lanka, each with a depth of cultural
During the pre-history Sri Lanka was
inhabited by tribes of hunters -
gatherers, nomads and their economic
system was based on a gathering of
fruits and vegetables and animal
hunting. Some came from the south of
India, remains of ancient
settlements were found in caves
where they lived. Skeletons, simple
stone tools and fragments of pottery
were found on various sites on the
island, usually near major rivers.
Those tribes believed in the power
of nature, animals and forest’s
spirits. This ancient culture has
not preserved documents or writings,
but the remains of ancient tribes
may be found in "Wadda's human
living in the north of Kandy in some
reservations. A number of them
preserve an ancient tradition of
using herbal medicine and consider
themselves to be original
inhabitants of Sri Lanka.
In the 6th century BC Wijaya, the
son of a king in northern India,
landed in Sri Lanka with 700
soldiers after escaping the
execution. According to the
Sinhalese tradition he reached the
shores of the island in the same day
when the Buddha reached
Wijaya and his men settled in the
Anuradhapura kingdom and established
the basis for the first Sinhalese.
Later they established a kingdom in
the south state, but the
Anuradhapura kingdom remained strong
and leading kingdom.
The king and his men tipped the huge
reservoirs of rainwater such as Tisa
wewa and Basawakkulama.
In the 3rd century BC Asoka Indian
warlord sent his son, Mahinda, and
his daughter to extend the message
of Buddhism throughout Sri Lanka.
The first Sinhalese
Mahinda's son converted the King of
Anuradhapura into Buddhism. Their
meeting held in Mininthalaya and
initiated the beginning of Buddhism
in Sri Lanka. The event is
celebrating today at the "Poson"
day, the" Poya"(full moon) in June.
So, there are thousands of pilgrims
coming to Mihinthalaya, climbing on
the “Dageba” overlooking the entire
area of Anuradhapura.
Twig from tree "Bo", that according
to tradition The Lord Buddha reached
enlightenment under it, were planted
by the King of Sri Lanka in
Anuradhapura and the twigs of it
planted in the many hundreds of
temples around the island. Leafs of
this tree appear on the Sri Lanka's
Relationship between the state and
the Buddhist religion was tightened
when Sinhalese King Walagambah
escaped from South Indian and found
refuge in a Buddhist monastery in
Dambulla. In 90 BC he expressed his
gratitude by building the complex of
caves in Dambulla. His murals were
preserved until today and made it a
Monks of Dambulla recorded Buddhist
reporters and traditions and Sri
Lanka became the spiritual centre of
Buddhist philosophy. Today it
influences like a magnet for the
faithful from Burma, Thailand and
other countries in South - East
Another source of strengthen the
Anuradhapura as the first Sinhalese
capital and Buddhist centre was a
Buddha's tooth, that smuggled to it.
It's considered as one of the
world's most important Buddhist
remains. Today it is saved by
Sinhalese in the tooth temple in
Kandy. Anuradhapura is moved to
Polonnaruwa as the second capital of
There are two important kings
related to this chapter of the local
history. First Parakramabahu,
reigned from 1186 to 1153, a period
when North Island was ruled by
Tamil. Parakramabahu made out trips
occupation of southern India,
developed the city's huge buildings
and water reservoirs surrounding it.
His successor, Nissanka (1196-1187),
developed and strengthened the giant
structures, but the kings who came
after were unable to maintain the
integrity of the kingdom. Diseases
spread; Polonnaruwa became abandoned
and overgrown by the jungle, waiting
patiently for the archaeologists of
the early twentieth century.
North Island was a Tamil kingdom at
that time served as a centre of
maritime trade for spices, pearls
and goods. Until the 15th century
the kingdom was a Tamil cultural
centre, but the situation was about
to change when the various European
Nations began to take an interest of
After a period of Polonnaruwa, from
1400 to 1253, it moved the capital
to five different cities.
The Portuguese arrived to the island
in 1505. Lawrence de Almeida made an
agreement with Kotte ruler, giving
him a monopoly of the spice trade
demanded on European markets.
Relationship with the Tamils was
less friendly. The Portuguese, who
were trying to spread Christianity
on the island, encountered local
resistances. Tamils did not hesitate
to pillage and massacre the
missionaries again and again. But
they did not prevent the Portuguese
to take precedence over the spice
and trade routes, especially in the
coastal area, at the time when Kandy
remained under the Sinhalese
control. Due to the Portuguese, the
names like Perera, Fernando etc were
spread around the coastal area.
Remains of Portuguese communities
that still live on the island are
Burghers. The Europeans that until
today are still a part of the local
The Portuguese brought slaves from
Africa called the "Kapiri" that gave
a lot to the Sri Lanka's music
"Baila", which consists of African
sounds and drums.
Kandy Kingdom, led by King
Rajasinghe, saw Dutch invasion as a
good opportunity to get rid of the
Portuguese domination. Rajasinghe
granted monopoly on the spice trade
and commodity traders to the Dutch,
in return for autonomy and
preservation of Sinhalese culture.
In 1658 the Dutch controlled most of
the island and tried to encourage
the Dutch for settlement at the
island. The "Burgher Dutch" group is
a remnant of this settlement.
The Dutch have developed the trade
channels, which brought from their
homeland, leaving for Sri Lanka a
system of canals (mainly west coast)
that are used to transfer cinnamon,
spices and other goods to the port
and from there to Europe.
However the Dutch who ruled the
island for 140 years, could not take
over the Sinhalese kingdom and the
region of Kandy gained autonomy.
As part of its struggle with France
for control of Indian Ocean trade
routes, Britain was next and last
occupier as Sri Lanka.
British Navy began using Trincomalee
main port (port is the world's
largest natural deep).
In 1802 Sri Lanka becomes a British
colony; in 1815 the British become
the first European nation that took
over the surveillance of the Kandy
and the highlands.
In 1832 British started to develop
the mountainous region around Nuwara
Eliya. Fertile land, water and
climate conditions fit perfectly for
the coffee growing, which later was
replaced by tea and rubber groves in
the coastal area.
British were assisted by Tamils
workers that were brought to the
plantations from the South Indian.
At that time the community groves
reach about 85,000 people. This is
one of two concentrations of Tamils
in the country.
British bequeathed to Sri Lanka,
like the other colonies, a private
education system, railways stations,
tea plantations and culture of tea
(Ceylon tea), and of course the
The English language has become the
second language spoken in Sri Lanka
after it broke free from British
With the awakening for independence
in India, Sri Lanka became an
independent member in the
Commonwealth and in February 1948
the first independent government was
formed after the British high
commissioner left the island.