Anuradhapura ənäˈräjə– [key], city (1995 est. pop. 40,000), N central Sri Lanka, on the Aruvi River. Rice plantations and vegetable gardens surround the city, which is famous chiefly for its vast Buddhist ruins and as a pilgrimage center. Founded in 437 b.c., it was the capital of a Sinhalese kingdom and a Buddhist center until the 8th cent. a.d., when, after a Tamil invasion, it was abandoned in favor of Pollonarrua. Ruins include several colossal stupas (some larger than the pyramids of Egypt), a temple hewn from rock, and the Brazen Palace (so called from its metal roof). A sacred bo tree at Anuradhapura was grown from a slip of the tree at Bodh Gaya, India, under which Buddha reputedly attained enlightenment. The Archaeological Survey of Sri Lanka has its headquarters in the city.

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