Famous for the production and export of tea, coffee, coconuts and rubber, Sri Lanka boasts a progressive and modern industrial economy and the highest per capita income in South Asia. This tiny island encompasses long wide beautiful tropical beaches, Wild Elephants, over 400 species of Birds, green vegetation, breathtaking views, ancient art and architecture and a thousand delights of Sri Lankan culture of the always smiling Sri Lankans.One of the first written references to the island is found in the Indian epic Ramayana, which described the emperor Ravana as monarch of the powerful kingdom of Lanka, which was created by the divine sculptor Vishwakarma for Kubera, the treasurer of the Gods. The Buddhist kingdoms of Sri Lanka would maintain a large number of Buddhist schools and monasteries, and support the propagation of Buddhism into Southeast Asia. After over two thousand years of rule by local kingdoms, parts of Sri Lanka were colonized by Portugal and the Netherlands beginning in the 16th century, before the control of the entire country was ceded to the British Empire in 1815. European colonists established a series of tea, cinnamon, rubber, sugar, coffee and indigo plantations. The city of Colombo was established as the administrative centre, and the British established modern schools, colleges, roads and churches that brought Western-style education and culture to the native people.Subtropical evergreen forests resembling those of temperate climates flourish in the higher altitudes. Among the trees of the dry-land forests are some valuable species, such as satinwood, ebony, ironwood, and mahogany and teak. In the wet zone, the dominant vegetation of the lowlands is a tropical evergreen forest, with tall trees, broad foliage, and a dense undergrowth of vines and creepers. The national flower of Sri Lanka is Nil Mahanel, the national tree is Na and the national bird is the Sri Lanka Junglefowl, which is endemic to the country.There are the most interested tourists’ points: the Dalada Maligawa, the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic of the Buddha; Kelaniya Temple known for its image of the reclining Buddha; Adam's Peak with an important pilgrimage site, especially for Hindus and Buddhists; a town Dambulla; Sigiriya - an ancient rock fortress with a castle; a town in Badulla District, Mahiyangana; the shtupa was designed in a " Bubble " shape, Ruwanveliseya; and others.The capital of the country is Colombo. Situated on the western coast of the island, it is a major port with one of the largest artificial harbors in the world. A fort was established by the Portuguese in 1518, and the town was occupied by the Dutch in 1656 and the English in 1796. It became the capital of the island in 1815. Indians, Portuguese, Dutch and British have all left their marks here, making for a delightful mix of ancient monuments and atmospheric colonial architecture.On Sri Lanka palm-fringed beaches are never far away and lush mountainous greenery beckons inland. It's clear to see why Marco Polo proclaimed Sri Lanka to be one of the best islands in the world.
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