Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka

Things to do - general

Geography

An island in the Indian Ocean off the southeast tip of India, Sri Lanka is about half the size of Alabama. Most of the land is flat and rolling; mountains in the south-central region rise to over 8,000 ft (2,438 m).

Government

Republic.

History

Indo-Aryan emigration from India in the 5th century B.C. came to form the largest ethnic group on Sri Lanka today, the Sinhalese. Tamils, the second-largest ethnic group on the island, were originally from the Tamil region of India and emigrated between the 3rd century B.C. andA.D. 1200. Until colonial powers controlled Ceylon (the country’s name until 1972), Sinhalese and Tamil rulers fought for dominance over the island. The Tamils, primarily Hindus, claimed the northern section of the island and the Sinhalese, who are predominantly Buddhist, controlled the south. In 1505 the Portuguese took possession of Ceylon until the Dutch India Company usurped control (1658–1796). The British took over in 1796, and Ceylon became an English Crown colony in 1802. The British developed coffee, tea, and rubber plantations. On Feb. 4, 1948, after pressure from Ceylonese nationalist leaders (which briefly unified the Tamil and Sinhalese), Ceylon became a self-governing dominion of the Commonwealth of Nations.

S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike became prime minister in 1956 and championed Sinhalese nationalism, making Sinhala the country’s only official language and including state support of Buddhism, further marginalizing the Tamil minority. He was assassinated in 1959 by a Buddhist monk. His widow, Sirimavo Bandaranaike, became the world’s first female prime minister in 1960. The name Ceylon was changed to Sri Lanka (“resplendent island”) on May 22, 1972.

The Tamil minority’s mounting resentment toward the Sinhalese majority’s monopoly on political and economic power, exacerbated by cultural and religious differences, erupted in bloody violence in 1983. Tamil rebel groups, the strongest of which were the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, or Tamil Tigers, began a civil war to fight for separate nation.

President Ranasinghe Premadasa was assassinated at a May Day political rally in 1993, when a Tamil rebel detonated explosives strapped to himself. Tamil extremists have frequently resorted to terrorist attacks against civilians. The next president, Chandrika Kumaratunga, vowed to restore peace to the country. In Dec. 1999, she was herself wounded in a terrorist attack. By early 2000, 18 years of war had claimed the lives of more than 64,000, mostly civilians.

Country Sri Lanka
Visa requirements

Visitors to Sri Lanka visiting for tourism purposes must obtain an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) prior to arrival or on arrival to Sri Lanka. Holders of ETA from all countries except the 3 exempt countries obtain a visa on arrival that is valid for 30 days.

Languages spokenEnglish, Sinhala and Tamil
Currency usedSri Lankan rupee (LKR)
Area (km2)65,610 km²

Nightlife info

From chic relaxing cocktail lounges, and modern international restaurants – to lively pubs, tapas bars and sports bars boasting snooker tables and large-screen TV’s, there’s something for everyone.With ever-popular karaoke bars, nightclubs showcasing new musical talent, and pulsating discos - the choice is endless.

Bally’s-Casino

 

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Nightlife image
Aditya Villa Resort

Aditya Villa Resort

Sri Lanka
The Aditya Villa Resort is one of the most exclusive hotels in Sri Lanka. Located on the ivory sands More info
Amanwella

Amanwella

Sri Lanka
The Amanwella is a fantastic five star resort that offers you all the intimacy of its modest size, j More info
Avani Bentota Resort & Spa

Avani Bentota Resort & Spa

Sri Lanka
A Sri Lanka beachfront resort with minimalist, clean styling and an almost Mediterranean charm to it More info
Avani Kalutara

Avani Kalutara

Sri Lanka
Blending Sri Lankan culture and colonial charm with contemporary flair the Avani Kalutara has all th More info
The Bluewater

The Bluewater

Sri Lanka
The Blue Water hotel is a stylish four star resort located within the tranquil landscape of Wadduwa More info