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ANURADHAPURA, a ruined city of Ceylon, famous for its
ancient monuments. It is situated in the North-central province.
Anuradhapura became the capital of Ceylon in the 5th century
B.C., and attained its highest magnificence about the commencement
of the Christian era. In its prime it ranked beside Nineveh
and Babylon in its colossal proportions—its four walls, each 16 m.
long, enclosing an area of 256 sq. m.,—in the number of its
inhabitants, and the splendour of its shrines and public edifices.
It suffered much during the earlier Tamil invasions, and was
finally deserted as a royal residence in A.D. 769. It fell completely
into decay, and it is only of recent years that the jungle
has been cleared away, the ruins laid bare, and some measure
of prosperity brought back to the surrounding country by the
restoration of hundreds of village tanks. The ruins consist of
three classes of buildings, dagobas, monastic buildings, and
pokunas. The dagobas are bell-shaped masses of masonry,
varying from a few feet to over 1100 in circumference. Some
of them contain enough masonry to build a town for twenty-five
thousand inhabitants. Remains of the monastic buildings are
to be found in every direction in the shape of raised stone platforms,
foundations and stone pillars. The most famous is the
Brazen Palace erected by King Datagamana about 164 B.C.
The pokunas are bathing-tanks or tanks for the supply of
drinking-water, which are scattered everywhere through the
jungle. The city also contains a sacred Bo-tree, which is said to
date back to the year 245 B.C. The railway was extended from
Matale to Anuradhapura in 1905. Population: town, 3672;
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