Anuradhapura is one of the ancient capitals of Sri Lanka, distinguished for its well-preserved ruins of ancient civilization. According to Mahawamsa, the great chronicle of the Sinhalese, the city of Anuradhapura was named after a minister called Anurada who found this area as a village settlement by the Malwatu Oya in the second half of the 6th century BC. It is said that King Pandukabhaya made it his capital in the 4th century BC.
In this sacred city, there are eight main places of worship known as Athamasthana. They are: Sri Maha Bodhiya, Ruwanwelisaya, Thuparamaya, Lovamahapaya, Abhayagiriya, Jetavanaramaya, Mirisawatiya and Lankaramaya. In the vicinity of Anuradhapura there are a large number of ruins consisting of three classes of buildings, dagobas, basic buildings, and pokunas (bathing-tanks). The dagobas are bell-shaped masses of stonework, altering from a few feet to over 1100 ft in circumference. The most famous is the Brazen Palace erected by King Dutugamunu about 164 BC. One of the best specimen of bathing tanks or pools in ancient Sri Lanka is the pair of pools known as “Kuttam pokuna” (Twin ponds). The city also contains a sacred Bo-Tree, Sri Mahabodhiya, it is said that Sanghamitta Their brought with her a branch of the Bodhi tree under which prince Siddhartha attained enlightenment. This is the oldest living tree in documented history.