"Undoubtedly, the finest island of its size in all the world" - Marco Polo
Travellers throughout the ages have been fascinated by this pearl shaped island located off the southernmost tip of India, surrounded by the warm waters of the Indian Ocean
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 the enchantment. Abundance of rivers, streams and cascading waterfalls together with cool misty mountains and Forests containing exotic flora, many species of colorful bird life - conjure 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. So much so... that Marco Polo was moved to call it "the finest Island of its size in all the world".
Sri Lanka's ancient civilization dates over 2600 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 are a reminder of a colourful tapestry woven around the deeds of ancient Sinhala Kings. The historical sites 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 kingdoms have followed of which (to date) Kandy is acknowledged as the last kingdom of Ceylon... Sri Lanka (pre-dating of course the British period).
Occupations in the past by the Dutch, Portuguese ant even the Arabs have 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. On May 22nd 1972 Ceylon became a republic and changed its name to Sri Lanka. The name denotes a more traditional connotation signifying "the resplended isle of Lanka".
Today the island is a flourishing modern democracy with the seat of government established at Sri Jayewardenepura Kotte (the Capital), a strong commercial centre established in Colombo (the island's largest and most prestigious city), an abundance of international star class hotels, international and domestic airports, modern transport and communications systems and strategically located sea ports.
With this mixture of past and present you really do have the best of both worlds! While many changes have taken place throughout history, one aspect has remained, and that too perhaps the most unique aspect of the island… its warm and friendly people, where hospitality is a way of life. Explore this stunning isle of Sri Lanka with the people who know Sri Lanka Best... the Abans professional team at Abans Tours.