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The ancient capital of Anuradhapura is Sri Lanka's most sacred city. Founded in the 5th century BC, it is said to be the birthplace of Buddhism in Sri Lanka and is home to some of the island's most sacred Buddhist sites.
One of these is the Sri Maha Bodhi (Sacred Bo-Tree), believed to be grown from a cutting of the tree under which Buddha attained enlightenment. The tree attracts countless pilgrims from around the world and maintains a living connection to the founder of Buddhism. Anuradhapura's other gems include the Brazen Palace; Ruvanwelisiya Dagoba, one of the most impressive in Sri Lanka; Mahasena Palace with its beautifully carved moonstones; and the Issurumuniyagala Monastery, carved out of solid rock with some outstanding sculptures.
Over recent decades, extensive excavations and restoration work has been carried out at various locations in Anuradhapura under the Cultural Triangle Project with support from UNESCO.