Sri Lanka, formerly known as Ceylon, is an island of South Asia, divided by the Indian subcontinent from a narrow straight. Many call it “The tear of India” because of its shape on the world map, but a more representative name is “the emerald of the Indian Ocean”, which corresponds to the lush green, tropical natural environment that has nothing to envy from an imagination of paradise. It is a place of rich cultural heritage and ancient Buddhist tradition, and has always been a strategic point in the maritime trade routes. The island hosts a mix of cultures, languages, religions and nationalities. Gained independency from British colonial rule in 1948, in 1972 became a democracy by adopting its current name and suffered from a 25-year civil war that ended in 2009 with the defeat of the Tamil separatists. Today, it is one of the few countries in the region that has excellent growth, social equality and a high standard of living. Unfortunately, the long-term terrorist attacks of April 21, 2019 have come to stir the calm of this “paradise”, to wake up the recent memories of the war and to tarnish the image of a place that until recently was high in travelers’ choice.
The kindness, honesty and helpfulness of this people will happily surprise you, to a degree that makes you wonder how these lovely people have been involved in the brutality of a civil war, just till 10 years ago.
The main attractions for visitors starting from the capital city of Colombo, which combines tradition and modern architecture with contemporary lifestyle, then the historic triangle at the central highlands with cultural heritage monuments such as the ruins of the ancient city of Sirigiya and its palace built upon an imposing rock – a symbol of the country. In the surrounding areas, wild Asian elephants enjoy the protection of the country’s National Parks, though you can even see them by the sides of main roads. The picturesque town of Kandy, surrounded by an idyllic, tropical mountainous landscape, is the cultural capital of Sri Lanka. On the shores of Lake Bogambara, there’s the temple of the Buddha’s sacred tooth relic. The country is linked to an extensive railway network, whose hill section from Kandy to the towns of Nuwara Eliya and Ella, is one of the most picturesque train routes on planet, passing through wonderful landscapes of tea plantations, mountain forests, waterfalls and villages that pop out through the fog. Of course, on a tropical island, not to miss is the coastline that surrounds it, with beaches that are sometimes peaceful and sometimes turbulent by the wild ocean waves.
Terrorism in paradise…
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