The ruins of Polonnaruwa
The ancient royal capital of Polonnaruwa flourished under the Chola Dynasty from the 11th to 13th centuries AD. Built beside the extensive man-made reservoir known as the 'Sea of Parakrama', Polonnaruwa is the best preserved of Sri Lanka's ancient cities. Some of the finest buddha statues in the country are to be found here, carved from huge slabs of granite (below). You will also see the ruins of the King's Council Chamber, the Royal Pavilion, the Kiri Vehera stupa, and the 'Quadrangle', the latter a compact group of ruins including the Vatadage, a circular relic house decorated with a superb moonstone (not the jewel, but a traditional carved semi-circular stone step).