The sacred city of Anuradhapura was the first capital of Sri Lanka. Today this city hosts a massive collection of Buddhist monuments and artifacts that date back to 7th century BCE. The city was abandoned around 1300 CE. It makes a treasure trove of artifacts and ruins. It is also a UNESCO world heritage site.
Abhayagiri and Jetwana monastery excavations are two of the most significant archaeological projects conducted at Anuradhapura in Sri Lanka. The city is an important stop for Buddhist pilgrims because of many legends and histories outnumbering Anuradhapura’s monuments. These tales of Anuradhapura were considered mythical until colonial explorations started in the Northern wildernesses of the island. The sheer scale and planning of this lost city inspired even the British colonial engineers. Its complex network of irrigation simply needed to be cleared of mud. Even today, it feeds more than half of the island’s population. In its heyday, Anuradhapura was an impressive city with an advanced urban culture based on Buddhist ideas. A Buddhist monument called Jetawana stupa was the second tallest structure in the world in 3rd century CE. A sacred fig tree shrine of Anuradhapuran monastery is the world’s oldest tree with a recorded date of planting in 242 BCE.