Eight World Heritage Sites in Sri Lanka recognized by UNESCO. These sites are:
- Ancient City of Polonnaruwa: It was the capital of Sri Lanka from the 11th to the 13th century and showcases well-preserved ruins, including temples, palaces, and statues. The city’s architecture and layout showcase advanced engineering and urban planning of the time. It features monumental structures, palaces, temples, and other religious buildings. One of the most famous sites within Polonnaruwa is the Quadrangle, a sacred complex that includes the Vatadage (relic house), Hatadage (tooth relic shrine), and the Thuparama Image House.
- Ancient City of Sigiriya: Also known as the “Lion Rock,” Sigiriya is a rock fortress with frescoes, gardens, and a complex water supply system, built in the 5th century AD. One of the most notable features of Sigiriya is the Mirror Wall, which was originally coated with polished plaster to create a reflective surface. This wall was once covered with ancient graffiti and inscriptions, providing valuable insights into the social, political, and cultural aspects of the time.
- Sacred City of Anuradhapura: It was the capital of ancient Sri Lanka from the 4th century BC to the 11th century AD and contains numerous well-preserved Buddhist stupas, monasteries, and monuments.
- Old Town of Galle and its Fortifications: Located on the southwestern coast of Sri Lanka, Galle is a well-preserved colonial town with Dutch-era fortifications, narrow streets, and charming architecture.
- Golden Temple of Dambulla: This cave temple complex houses Buddhist murals, statues, and over 150 Buddha statues. The temple is located in central Sri Lanka.
- Central Highlands of Sri Lanka: This site comprises the Peak Wilderness Protected Area, Horton Plains National Park, and Knuckles Conservation Forest. It is home to diverse flora and fauna, including endangered species.
- Sinharaja Forest Reserve: It is a tropical rainforest located in the southwest part of the country, known for its biodiversity and endemic species. It is one of the last remaining undisturbed rainforests in Sri Lanka.
- Sacred City of Kandy: The city of Kandy was the last capital of the ancient kings of Sri Lanka and is home to the Temple of the Tooth, which houses a relic of the Buddha. The annual Esala Perahera festival is also held here.
Please note that there may have been new additions to the list since my last update. I recommend checking the UNESCO website or other reliable sources for the most up-to-date information on World Heritage Sites in Sri Lanka.