The city of Anuradhapura was founded in the fifth century B.C. and remained the capital of Ceylonese kings for 12 centuries.
After the people of Ceylon had been converted to Buddhism, Anuradhapura became a holy city and the destination of many Buddhist pilgrims.
The Ceylonese built in Anuradhapura a number of massive stupas, monumental mounds that usually contained a sacred Buddhist relic. The city was also the site of the Ruwanweli Pagoda, which was constructed in 144 B.C. The base of this pagoda, 500 square feet in area and 7 inches thick, was made out of solid silver!
Anuradhapura was abandoned in the eighth century and was eventually overgrown by the surrounding jungle. It wasn’t rediscovered and cleared until the nineteenth century!
Still growing in Anuradhapura is the Bo-tree. According to legend, the Bo-tree was originally a branch of the tree under which Buddha attained enlightenment and was transported to Sri Lanka by a miracle in the third century B.C.
The Bo-tree is the oldest tree on earth of which we have an historical record.