Anuradhapura

From Academic Kids

The very first kingdom in Sri Lanka, Anuradhapura was made the country's capital by King Pandukabhaya (reigned c. 437 BC - 367 BC, although some sources also state 337 BC-305 BC).

The word "Anuradhapura" is derived from Anuradha, which is the name of one Pandukabhaya's chief ministers, whose special charge was this city, and "pura" which means city or town in Sinhalese.

The construction of Anuradhapura is described in the Mahavamsa:

"He laid out (...) four suburbs as well as the Abhaya-tank, the common cemetery, the place of execution, and the chapel of the Queens of the West, the banyan-tree of Vessavana and the Palmyra-palm of the Demon of Maladies, the ground set apart for the Yonas and the house of the Great Sacrifice; all these he laid out near the west gate." Mahavamsa X, trans. Wilhelm Geiger
"A hermitage was made for many ascetics; eastward of that same cemetery the ruler built a house for the nigantha Jotiya.(...) On the further side of Jotiya's house and on this side of the Gamani tank he likewise built a monastery for wandering mendicant monks, and a dwelling for the ajivakas and a residence for the brahmans, and in this place and that he built a lying-in shelter and a hall for those recovering from sickness." Mahavamsa X, trans. Wilhelm Geiger

Although according to historical records the city was founded in the 5th century BC, the archaeological data put the date as far back as the 10th century BC. By the 3rd century BC, the city has grown to become one of the 10 most largest cities in the subcontinent. In that time Buddhism was introduced to Sri Lanka. With this began the great building era in which vast monastery complexes and some of the highest buildings in the old world were built. The Jetavanaramaya dagoba of the city is still the highest brick structure in the world. Large lakes were also constructed by the city's rulers to irrigate paddy lands and also to supply water to the city. Nuwara wewa and Tissa wewa are among the best known lakes in the city.

The city was the capital of the country continuously from the 5th century BC to AD 1017. It's decline began with continuous wars with the invading South Indians which made the kingdom economically poor. The great city was overrun by the South Indian Chola forces in 1017. From then on the capital was shifted to Polonnaruwa. The destruction caused to the city and its complex irrigation system was so great that the city was totally abandoned. It was not until the 19th century that the city was refounded by the British. Today the old city can be traced by its ruins while a new city with a population of about 55000 (2001) has come up in place of the old city. Today it is a major attraction to both foreign and local tourists in the country, and the home of the sacred Sri Maha Bodhi tree, the oldest historical tree in the world, at 2300 years.

External links

de:Anuradhapura ja:アヌラダープラ nl:Anuradhapura sv:Anuradhapura

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