Sri Lanka’s history and culture is extremely rich for it had developed with time over the centuries with much influences from other countries during their invasions and rule. The dawn of Buddhism in the country during the 3rd century BC encouraged the development of civilizations since the teachings of Lord Buddha had to be written so the people started learning to read and write hence the language of Sinhala was born.
The historical culture of Sri Lanka evolved through many ancient kingdoms such as the Anuradhapura kingdom which still remains as an atmospheric ruin with its spectacular dagobas and monasteries; the fantastic rock fortress of Sigirya which still fascinates with its engineering designs of ancient times; the colourful and artistic wall and ceiling paintings at Dambulla Cave Temple which is 2000 years old; the Dalada Maligawa -Temple of the Tooth in Kandy reflects the centre of Buddhist culture for it houses the 1,500 year old relic of Lord Buddha.
Sri Lanka’s culture was further enhanced by Arab traders and during the colonial years since new religions and traditions of Islam and Christianity was introduced along with different languages and cuisines which have added more cultural diversity. Mosques and churches flourished through all regions which makes Sri Lanka a multi ethnic country.
The Portuguese built many forts around the coasts of the island which were then fortified by the Dutch. These can be found along the North, East and South with special reverence to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Galle Fort. The initiation of tea industry by the British molded the socio-economic culture of Sri Lanka, bringing about major change in by making Ceylon Tea, a worldwide brand that makes Sri Lanka one of the world’s largest exporters and the introduction and establishment of railways into the country enabling people to travel to and from the hill country to all corners of the island. The British introduced the popular sport of cricket which has become one of the country’s most beloved sports establishing its name further in the world.
However, Sri Lanka’s contemporary cultural heritage today reflects an exuberant mix of old and new immersed in many a religion and tradition which transcends beauty and effervescence. City tours, walking tours and village tours will give you insights of all cultures whether ancient, modern or rural.