Archaeological Museum

Top choice in Anuradhapura

The old British colonial administration building has recently been renovated and has an interesting collection of artwork, carvings and everyday items from Anuradhapura and other historic sites around Sri Lanka. Exhibits include a restored relic chamber, found during the excavation of the Kantaka Chetiya dagoba at nearby Mihintale, and a large-scale model of Thuparama Dagoba’s vatadage (circular relic house) as it might have been if a wooden roof had existed.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Anuradhapura attractions

1. Folk Museum

0.14 MILES

A short distance north of the Archaeological Museum is this dusty museum with mildly interesting exhibits of country life in Sri Lanka’s North Central…

2. Ruvanvelisaya Dagoba

0.25 MILES

This magnificent white dagoba is guarded by a wall with a frieze of 344 elephants standing shoulder to shoulder. Apart from a few beside the western…

3. Lowamahapaya

0.27 MILES

So called because it once had a bronze-tiled roof, the ruins of the 'Brazen Palace' stand close to the bodhi tree. The remains of 1600 columns are all…

4. Sri Maha Bodhi

0.33 MILES

The sacred bodhi tree is central to Anuradhapura in both a spiritual and physical sense. It was grown from a cutting brought from Bodhgaya in India and is…

5. Dakkhina Stupa

0.34 MILES

Most tourists ignore this 2000-year-old stupa, but legend says it holds the cremated remains of King Dutugemunu (r 161–137 BC). It's now mostly used by…

6. Mirisavatiya Dagoba

0.35 MILES

This huge dagoba was the first built by King Dutugemunu after he recaptured the city in the 2nd century BC. The story goes that Dutugemunu went to bathe…

7. Basawak Kulama

0.43 MILES

The oldest tank in Anuradhapura, probably dating from around the 4th century BC, is the 120-hectare Basawak Kulama (the Tamil word for tank is kulam).

8. Buddhist Railing

0.51 MILES

A little south of the Jetavanarama Dagoba, on the other side of the road, there is a stone railing built in imitation of a log wall. It encloses a site…