Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Sri Lanka

  • Population: 23 million inhabitants (2021)
  • Capital city: Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte, referred to as Kotte, with about 100,000 inhabitants and Colombo
  • Name: Sri Lanka, previously called Ceylon or Serendip, nickname: “Pearl of the Indian Ocean”
Flag of Sri Lanka
  • Government: Presidential republic
  • Languages: Sinhala and Tamil
  • Religion: mainly Buddhists (70%), Hindus (12%), Muslims (9%) Catholics (6%)
  • Currency: 1 Sri Lankan rupee  = 100 cents
  • History: The island was first settled in the 6th century BC, most probably by people from India. Various kingdoms ruled on the island from about 200 BC. Portuguese and Dutch settlers arrived here in the 16th and 17th century before the British arrived on the island. In 1802 Sri Lanka became a British crown colony. Sri Lanka was granted independece on 4 February 1948.
  • National Day: 4 February (Independence Day)
  • National Symbols: Ceylon junglefowl (national bird), Ceylon iron wood tree (national tree), blue water lily (national flower), jackfruit (national fruit)
  • National AnthemSri Lanka Matha (Mother Sri Lanka)

Geography

Sri Lanka is an island country located on the Asian continent, more exactly in Southern Asia, south of India. A land bridge between the island and India existed until the 15th century when a cyclone broke the land bridge apart.

The island is mostly flat with some mountains in the central-southern parts. The island of Sri Lanka is surrounded by the Indian Ocean. Sri Lanka is slightly larger than the state of West Virginia/USA or about double the size of Belgium or slightly larger than Lithuania.

Superlatives

  • The largest city of Sri Lanka is Colombo with about 600,000 inhabitants. Colombo is the main business centre of the country.
  • The Lotus Tower in Colombo is the highest tower in Sri Lanka with 350 m/ 1,148 ft. Lotus Tower is among the 50 tallest skyscrapers in Asia.
Lotus Tower
  • Sri Lanka’s highest mountain peak is the Piduruthalagala with 2,524 m/ 8,281 ft.
  • The longest river of Sri Lanka is the Mahaweli River with 335 km/ 208 miles.
  • Sri Lanka’s does not have any natural lakes, but there are several dams, water reservoirs and water tanks in the country. The largest reservoir is called Kala Wewa and is almost 7 km/ 22,000 ft long.
  • The Kandy to Ella train journey is often named among the most scenic train rides in the world.
The Kandy to Ella train journey

Animals

Sri Lanka is one of the world’s top biodiversity hotspots. There are more than 125 mammal special such as the Asian elephants or the Sri Lankan Leopard. The Horton plains in the central highlands of Sri Lanka are home to many endemic species such as the sambar deer and the purple-faced langur and many endemic bird species.

People

Most of the people in Sri Lanka live in the country’s southwestern regions and along the eastern coast as well as on the Jaffna Peninsula in the north.

The Sri Lankan people mainly live in rural areas and only 19% live in urban areas.

Religion plays an important role in Sri Lankan culture and tradition. The religions in Sri Lanka are Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism and Islam. Most of the people are Buddhists or Hindus.

Sri Lanka Buddha statues

Economy

Sri Lanka is rich in gems, pearls and ivory. The main agricultural products are tea, rubber, coconut, sugarcane, coffee, herbs such as cinnamon and coffee.

The main trading partners are the USA, UK, India, China and Singapore.

Many people are also employed in the handloom and batik industry, fishing industry, clay industry, brass industry, mask industry and tourism industry. More than 2 million tourists visit Sri Lanka every year.

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