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Anuradhapura is Sri Lanka's ancient capital between 5th century BC–9th century AD and the centre of the Island's Buddhist civilization. The Island's oldest Buddhist shrines, some dating back to 3rd century BC are found here. The oldest documented tree on earth, the Sri Maha Bodhi (over 2000 years old), Pleasure Gardens, beautifully executed Stone Baths and Ponds, a superb Irrigation System of Reservoirs and Canals are the attractions.
The Loha Pasada or the Brazen Palace was founded in the 2nd century BC as a chapter house. In its original glory it had been nine stories high with a roof of copper tiles, hence the name Brazen Palace. The original building was destroyed by fire and was rebuilt and renovated several times by different kings. What now remains is a mass of 1,600 stone pillars standing close to each other. King Parakramabahu built the “palace” in the 12th century, entirely of wood with a copper roof, thus the name "brazen Palace".
Sri Maha Bodhi
This Bodhi tree is a sapling of the original Tree at which the Buddha sat as he attained enlightenment and was sent to Sri Lanka by King Dharmasoka through the Thero Sangamitta in response to the request made by King Devanampiyatissa. The tree flourishes to this day at the same site at which it was planted. This tree apart from being sacred to the Buddhists is the oldest historical tree of the world.Kings who came to the throne after Devanampiyatissa haveembellished the site with "Prakaras", "Makara" arches, flightsof steps, etc. Channels too had been constructed for conveying the water required for watering the tree.
This dagoba is 300 ft. in diameter was constructed by King Dutugemunu (167-137 BC), the first great hero of the Singhalese. The original height of the dagoba was also about the same. King Dutugemunu was, however, unable to complete the work on the dagoba Broad flights of steps are found at the entrance of the sand strewn courtyard as well as the paved terrace of the dagoba. The retaining wall was covered with figures of elephants in frontal aspect represented as standing cheek by jowl. At the four cardinal points of the dagoba are four "vahalkadas" (frontispieces), which have preserved some very old sculptures. Work on this dagoba has been done time and again after the day of King Dutugemunu.
Looming over the entire site, the Jetavanarama Dagoba is almost 122m (400ft) tall, with a base diameter of more than 113m (370ft), putting it on a par with some of the pyramids of Egypt and making it the largest Buddhist building in southern Asia. Its core is a gigantic earthen mound,encased in brickwork, and extensive reconstruction by the UNESCO Central Cultural Fund is now nearing completion. Next to it stands the Jetavanarama Museum, housing finds from the site discovered during the reconstruction process.
They include coins, Buddhist statues, seals made from precious stones, and a huge collection of beads made from clay, silver, gems, gold and ivory.