The Unesco World Heritage Sites of Sri Lanka

UNESCO world heritage sites

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) names sites that are of significant cultural and anthropological importance as protected sites. Sri Lanka has eight such sites – six of significant cultural value and two for their richness in natural and biological resources. Each of these places provides a unique experience and insight into how and what this beautiful country is. Listed below are those places that you must include in your itinerary.  


Kandy was the last Sinhalese kingdom from 1592 to 1815. It is a beautiful – laid back town that is known worldwide for the Temple of the Tooth venerated by the Buddhists.  Serene and sacred, Kandy will indeed be relaxing.


Sigiriya Lion Rock Fortress is the remains of a fortress constructed on the top of a scenic but massive rock in the 5 th AD. The site from up the rock gives a 360-degree view of the jungle below, a beautiful sight that will make you gasp in awe.


Anuradhapura is well known for the number of well-preserved historic temples and some ingenious olden irrigation techniques. The city was the first capital in Sri Lanka established in the 4th century BC, and its majesty is still well preserved.

Galle and its Fortifications

The Dutch built the fortified town of Galle in the 16th century. Galle has been named a UNESCO world heritage site in Sri Lanka for the cultural and historical significance it holds.


Polonnaruwa is the second Sinhalese capital in Sri Lanka and has many ruins of the landmark buildings constructed in the 12th century. It’s named a UNESCO world heritage site in Sri Lanka for its rich history and insightfulness into historic irrigation systems.

Dambulla Cave Temples

The cave temples in Dambulla are famous globally for its unique historical wall paintings and well-crafted Buddha statues which are appreciated for their preciseness in crafting.

Sinharaja Forest Reserve

A thriving rainforest reserve, Sinharaja is home to many endemic trees and species. It is the country’s last viable area of primary tropical rainforest. It is named a biosphere reserve and a UNESCO world heritage site in Sri Lanka for the complex natural diversity it offers.  

Central Highlands

The central highlands which includes the knuckles mountain range and the Horton plain are a biodiversity haven for naturalists.

The places listed above will be insightful in terms of understanding the foundations of the Sri Lankan culture and witnessing the natural resources that it has to offer the world.  

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