Sri Lanka’s cultural heritage covers more than 2,000 years. Known as Lanka–the “resplendent land”–in the ancient Indian epic Ramayana, the island has numerous other references that testify to the island’s natural beauty and wealth. The earliest recorded history talks about a very powerful King called Ravana who was using flying machines and abducted wife of a Prince in India called Rama who fought King Ravana for several years and with the support of Ravana’s brother who defected with Rama and defeated Ravana. Although some say this story is a myth, there are several locations in Sri Lanka bearing names of Ravana, Sitha (Rama’s wife) and other characters.
Eight sites of Sri Lanka have been inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage, namely, the ancient city of Polonnaruwa (1982), the ancient city of Sigiriya (1982), the Golden Temple of Dambulla (1991), the old town of Galle and its fortifications (1988), the sacred city of Anuradhapura (1982), the sacred city of Kandy (1988), Sinharaja Forest Reserve (1988) and the Central Highlands of Sri Lanka (2010).
Sri Lanka’s cultural heritage is a record of the progress of Buddhism, which in itself is a cultural heritage it can offer to the rest of the world. Recent archaeological findings have recovered evidences of human settlements dated 30,000 years. However the recorded history of the island begins about the 6th century before Christ. Today the nation proudly holds the remnants of the Royal ruling of ancient Lanka and colonial remains.