Sri Lanka is a pearl shaped island located off the southernmost tip of India and surrounded by the warm Indian Ocean. It is generally referred to as the gateway to the Far East. It is many peoples' idea of paradise. Indeed with its tropical, sunny beaches and palm fringed exotic coastline, you would be 'hard pressed' to find anywhere else on Earth closer to paradise. But the beaches and coastline are only part of it. In the interior the abundance of rivers, streams and cascading waterfalls together with cool misty mountains and Forests containing extra flora - and the many species of colorful bird life - conjure up a magic of-a totally different kind. And on top of this there are the many sites of historical interest. For hundreds of years, travelers have been enchanted by Sri Lanka's beauty and diversity. Marco Polo was moved to call it " the finest Island of its size in all the world ".
In fact Sri Lanka's ancient civilization stretches back over 2500 years and pre-dates Christianity. The earliest recorded name of the island is believed to have been Taprobane which was given to it by the Greeks in the 4th Century BC. However it is indeed one of the old cultures of the world and the many well preserved ancient cities of the island are a testament to this. Some date back to the 5th Century BC and all are a reminder of a colourful tapestry Woven around the deeds of ancient Sinhala Kings. The historical ruins of Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Sigiriya, Dambulla, and Kandy are very much part of Sri Lanka's proud heritage. The first kingdom was established at Anuradhapura between 5BC and 10AD and from there, over the centuries, four other kingdom's have followed of which (to date) Kandy is acknowledged as the last kingdom of Sri Lanka (pre-dating of course the British period).
Occupations in the past by the Dutch, Portuguese ant even the Arabs has left Sri Lanka with a legacy of a varied influence of culture. However between 1815 and 1948 Ceylon became a British colony and this is a very significant period in the history of this distinguished and beautiful island. In February 1948 Ceylon became an independent nation and only recently celebrated its fiftieth year of independence.
On May 22 1972 Ceylon became a republic and changed its name to Sri Lanka. Today the island is a flourishing modern democracy with the seat of government established a Sri Jayewardenepura Kotte (the Capital), a strong commercial centre established in Colombo (the island's largest and most prestigious city), an abundance of international 5 star hotels, an international airport, modern transport and communications systems and a strategically located sea port.
With this mixture of past and present you really do have the best of both worlds!