SRI LANKA

Date of establishment: February 4, 1948

Brief history:

  • Ancient History: Sri Lanka has a long history dating back to the 6th century BCE, during which time the first kingdoms were established, and a rich culture developed. One of the important historical artefacts is the Sacred Tooth of the Buddha, which was brought to Sri Lanka in the 4th century.
  • Kingdom of Anuradhapura: In the 4th century CE, the first state entity, the Kingdom of Anuradhapura, was founded. It was a center of Buddhism and a prosperous state.
  • Kingdom of Polonnaruwa: In the 11th century, the center of power shifted to Polonnaruwa, where the development of the kingdom and the construction of monumental buildings continued.
  • Arrival of Europeans: In the 16th century, Europeans arrived, including the Portuguese and later the Dutch and British, who tried to gain control of the island. The British consolidated their control in the 19th century.
  • Independence: Sri Lanka gained independence from Britain on 4 February 1948.
  • Political changes: After independence, the country went through several political changes, including changing the country’s name to Sri Lanka in 1972.
  • Civil War: Sri Lanka had long been marked by a civil war between the government and the Tamil Tigers, a separatist rebel group. This war lasted almost three decades and ended in 2009.

 

International abbreviation: LK

 

Currency: Sri Lankan rupee (LKR)

One Sri Lankan rupee is divided into 100 cents. The currency has the symbol “₨” and is often abbreviated as “SLR” or “LKR”. The Sri Lankan rupee is the only official currency used in Sri Lanka for all transactions.

 

Internet domain: lk

 

Dialing code: +94

 

Time zone: +5:30 GMT

 

Geography:

Sri Lanka lies to the south of the Indian subcontinent and is separated from the Indian state of Tamil Nadu by the Palk Strait. It is washed by the Indian Ocean to the west.

It has a varied relief. The interior of the island is made up of mountainous regions where there are mountains, the highest of which is Pidurutalagala, with an altitude of 2 524 meters (8 281 feet) above sea level. In the east and north of the island there are lowlands.

It has a beautiful coastline with many beaches, bays, and coral reefs. The largest rivers are the Mahaweli, Kelani and Walawe.

 

Highest peak: Pidurutalagala 2 525 m (8 284 feet) above see level.

This peak is located in the central part of the island, near the town of Nuwara Eliya, and forms part of the mountain massif called the Central Highlands.

 

Climate:

The rainy season on the southwest coast lasts from May to September. During this period, the southwest coast receives heavy rainfall, causing flooding.

The dry season on the northeast coast lasts from December to March. During this period, there is lower humidity and minimal rainfall. This is the driest time of the year.

The inter-monsoon period between the rainy season and the dry season usually lasts from October to November and from April to May. During the inter-monsoon period, Sri Lanka is between two monsoon currents. This can mean less rainfall and more stable weather.

 

Fauna and flora:

The country is famous for its population of Indian elephants. Elephants are protected and have an important place in Sri Lankan culture.

It is home to a subspecies of leopard known as the Ceylon leopard. Several species of crocodiles live there, including the saltwater and freshwater crocodiles.

There are different species of mongoose living in Sri Lanka, such as the gray mongoose and the royal mongoose.

It has extensive tropical rainforests that are home to many plant species, including tall trees, epiphytes, and ferns.

It is known for its endemic plants and animals, species found only on this island. These include, for example, species of the genera Ceylon Ironwood and the Horton Plains Slender Loris.

Lotus flowers are an important part of Sri Lankan culture and are often associated with Buddhism. Coconut palms are common on the coast, and coconut products have an important place in the local cuisine.

 

Agriculture:

Rice is the most important crop and forms the staple food for most of the population. Other important crops are tea, coconuts, black pepper, cinnamon, cocoa, vanilla, and tropical fruits such as pineapples and bananas.

The country is one of the world’s leading exporters of tea and spices, including black pepper and cinnamon. Coconut palms are widespread on the coast, and coconut products such as coconut oil, coconut sugar, and coconut flour are a significant part of local industry.

 

Extraction of raw materials:

Sri Lanka is known as “Gem Island” and has a long history of gem mining. Among the main gems mined here are sapphires, emeralds, rubies, and different types of garnets.

The country is also one of the world’s leading producers of graphite. Graphite is mined in the area around the city of Kandy and is used in various industrial applications, including the production of graphite electrodes.

Ilmenite is a titanium-containing mineral used in the production of titanium alloys and pigments. It has reserves of ilmenite, and mining of this mineral is carried out in some places on the coast.

Although the country does not have large timber reserves, some forests are harvested for timber and wood products. Salt extraction is carried out in some salt marshes, especially in Jaffna area.

 

Industry:

The textile and clothing industry is one of the largest sectors of Sri Lankan industry. The country produces a variety of textile products, including clothing, fabrics, and textile accessories.

The food processing industry includes food processing, including rice, tea, spices, sugar, and seafood. Sri Lanka is also known for producing coconut products such as coconut oil and coconut sugar. Sri Lanka also has small industries in engineering, electronics, and electronic component manufacturing.

The woodworking industry includes the production of furniture and wooden products for export.

The mining and processing of precious stones, especially gems, is of cultural and economic importance. Sri Lanka is known as “Gem Island” and produces a variety of precious stones such as sapphires, emeralds, and rubies.

 

Services and other sectors of the economy: tourism

 

Natural and historical attractions: Sigiriya

Sri Lanka has wonderful tropical beaches on its coast, especially in the southwest and east of the country. Beaches such as Unawatuna, Mirissa, Bentota and Arugam Bay are popular with tourists and offer opportunities for relaxation, surfing, and diving.

It has a rich cultural and historical heritage. Tourists can visit historical cities such as Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, and Sigiriya. These are places associated with Buddhism and have impressive archaeological sites.

It is home to many national parks and protected areas that protect rare species of plants and animals, including elephants, leopards, crocodiles, and birds. Yala, Udawalawe and Horton Plains National Parks are popular safari destinations. It is famous for its traditional Ayurvedic medicine and spas. Many tourists go there for treatment and relaxation in Ayurvedic resorts and spas.

 

Waterparks in Sri Lanka:

 

Form of government: semi-presidential republic

The president, who is directly elected for a five-year term, has broad powers and represents the country nationally and internationally. The president appoints the prime minister, who heads the executive branch and is responsible for the administration of the country. The government is composed of ministers who are entrusted with the supervision of individual ministries and departments.

Legislative power is vested in parliament. Parliament has two chambers: The Lower Chamber is known as the “Parliamentary Assembly” and is composed of members elected by direct election, while the Upper Chamber, known as the “Council of Elders,” is composed of members appointed by the president.

 

Capital city: Colombo

It is located on the west coast of the island, along the coast of the Indian Ocean, and is the economic, cultural, and political center of the country.

Colombo has a rich history dating back to ancient times when it was a port city for traders and conquerors from different parts of the world. The city has been influenced by various cultures, including the Portuguese, Dutch, and British colonial eras.

 

Area: 65 610 km2 (25 332 square miles)

 

Population: 22 500 000 (2021)

Sri Lanka is an ethnically and religiously diverse country, home to various ethnic groups and religious communities. Singhalese are the majority ethnic group. Tamils are the second largest. Muslims, make up around 9% of the population. The Bourges are a smaller ethnic group who are descendants of Portuguese and Dutch colonists.

The official languages are Sinhala and Tamil. Sinhala is the most widely spoken language and is used in public administration, education, and the media. Tamil is also widely spoken, especially in the northern and eastern parts of the country.

The country is known for its religious diversity. Buddhism is the largest religion, with approximately 70% of the population professing this faith. Hinduism and Islam are the other major religions, with Hinduism being the most common among the Tamil community. Christianity is also present, mainly in the Catholic population.

 

UNESCO World Heritage Sites: 8

 

  1. Ancient City of Polonnaruwa (1982) – The historic city of Polonnaruwa was the capital of Sri Lanka in ancient times. It contains many important archaeological sites.
  2. The Ancient City of Sigiriya (1982) – A famous rock fortress with royal palaces and gardens built in the 5th century.
  3. The Sacred City of Anuradhapura (1982) – Anuradhapura was the first capital of Sri Lanka and is full of sacred Buddhist buildings and artifacts.
  4. Galle Old Town and its Fortifications (1988) – A historic town with well-preserved city walls that combine European and Asian architecture.
  5. The Sacred City of Kandy (1988) – Kandy is famous for its sacred Temple of the Tooth and is an important Buddhist pilgrimage site.
  6. Sinharaja Forest Reserve (1988) – The reserve is one of the last remaining tropical rainforests in Sri Lanka and is home to many species of plants and animals.
  7. Dambulla Cave Temple (1991) – Dambulla is famous for its cave paintings and statues of Buddhist monks.
  8. Central Highlands of Sri Lanka (2010) – This region is characterized by its breathtaking landscape scenery, mountain villages and cultural heritage.

 

 

National parks: 26

 

  1. Adam’s Bridge National Park
  2. Angammedilla National Park
  3. Bundala National Park
  4. Chundikkulam National Park
  5. Delft National Park
  6. Flood Plains National Park
  7. Gal Oya National Park
  8. Galway’s Land National Park
  9. Hikkaduwa National Park
  10. Horagolla National Park
  11. Horowpathana National Park
  12. Horton Plains National Park
  13. Kaudulla National Park
  14. Kumana National Park
  15. Lahugala Kitulana National Park
  16. Lunugamvehera National Park
  17. Madhu Road National Park
  18. Maduru Oya National Park
  19. Minneriya National Park
  20. Pigeon Island National Park
  21. Somawathiya National Park
  22. Udawalawe National Park
  23. Ussangoda National Park
  24. Wasgamuwa National Park
  25. Wilpattu National Park
  26. Yala National Park