Sri Lanka - "Teardrop on the cheek of India", the "Pearl of the Indian Ocean" - it's all about the mysterious and wonderful island of Ceylon. As two thousand years ago, Sri Lanka offers a rare combination of pleasant discoveries. The friendliness and hospitality of the people of Sri Lanka complement the enchanting beauty and warm charm of the island of Ceylon. Magnificent sandy beaches with tending to the warm waters of the Indian Ocean coconut palm trees, unique waterfalls, rivers and forests, hills and valleys are harmoniously combined with the majestic temples and fortresses, unique monuments of architecture, ruins of ancient cities.
Sri Lanka - an island nation in the Indian Ocean, located north of the equator and near the southern coast of India, from which the island is separated Manarskim and Polkskim straits.
Most of the island occupies a low-lying plain, "torn" outputs in the form of the crystalline basement rocks and mesas. The entire southern part of the island is occupied by medium-high speed of the Massif Central mountain country, with a strong articulation of relief and lined mountain peaks. The slopes are covered with abundant forests and dissected short but turbulent rivers. The highest point of the island - Mount Pidurutalagala (2524 m.). Country's total area of 65.6 thousand. Sq. km.
In fact, capital is Colombo (here are the seat of government and the basic institutions of the country), the official is considered a suburb of Colombo, Sri Jaya-Vardenapura (Dzhayavardenapura Kotte), where the legislative bodies of the country and a number of administrative organizations.
Sri Lanka - one of the oldest countries in the world. Somewhere in this region, according to legend, came down to earth, Adam and Eve, many ancient writers, even the location of the Garden of Eden correlated with Taprobane or Ceylon (until 1972 called Sri Lanka). On this amazing island has many historical treasures, protected by UNESCO, as well as a large number of places associated with the name of the Buddha. Hundreds of kilometers of beaches and unique underwater world put Sri Lanka in a number of the world's largest beach resorts.
Colombo (in the Middle Ages - Kolontota), founded by Arab traders, today has become one of the major port cities of the Indian Ocean. City, though not rich in historical attractions, but still has its own special charm. Business Center Colombo - old western part of the city near the Fort. It survived many mansions of colonial architecture XVIII-XX centuries. and parks, for the majority of hotels, jewelry stores, banks and offices. Most interesting are extensive coastal area park Galle Face Green, the old lighthouse and the Clock Tower, the Presidential Palace, Mosque Jami-ul-Affan, Central Park Victoria Gardens Chinamon Gardens State University, a Buddhist university Vidyalankara, the National Museum and Art Gallery . Old trade and colonial districts of Colombo for the most part kept the unique flavor with churches, narrow and winding streets, canals, shopping plazas and small parks. East Fort is the "old town" Pettah occupied hundreds of markets, shops, stores and shacks. South-east of Fort interesting city hall, park "Viharamahadevi" with a memorial to the victims of the column I-st World War and numerous Catholic churches.
Churches and temples - the main noteworthy places in the capital - the Buddhist monasteries Vaydzhyaramara, Goths Vihara Dipaddutaramayya and other Hindu - Kochchikade, Kottahena, Pettah, Bambalappitiya, mosques - Davatagaha, Afar-Jumma, the Christian Church of St.. Peter, St. Lucia, St. Andrew, Scottish Presbyterian Church, and so on. d. All this peacefully side by side with each other, only emphasizing the cosmopolitan of this ancient city. Still, most noteworthy places is situated outside the capital.
The main attraction of the country, of course, surrounded by mountains of Kandy Valley 116 km. from Colombo, the last stronghold of the Sri Lankan state before the arrival of European colonizers. Nestled among the hills, the city of Kandy, the former to the 1815 capital of Sri Lanka, is still considered a cultural and religious center of the country. Occupying the entire central part of the city is extremely picturesque lake, and the city is framed by the river Mahaweli Ganga with shady banks. On the outskirts of Kandy is the main shrine of the country - the temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic "Dalada Maligawa" supposedly "rescued" from the funeral pyre of the Buddha one of the followers of his teachings, and later brought to Sri Lanka Indian princess. Majestically decorated temple contains a small stupa, adorned with gold and precious stones, which are sequentially arranged seven stupas, the latter of which is stored and a national shrine. Millions of believers come here to worship the relics, and in August in her honor to the famous procession of the feast "Kandy Esala Perahera." It is also interesting small museum with collections of Kandy historical artifacts and shelter for birds "Udavatakelle Senktuari." Art Association of Kandy and the Cultural Center, located near the lake, offer a good collection of local crafts and performances of popular dance groups.
In Peradeniya (near Kandy) is the largest in Asia, the Royal Botanic Garden (founded in 1821) in an area of 67 hectares, with one of the richest collections in the world - there are more than 45,000 species of plants in tropical and equatorial zones of the planet, including variety of exotic plants and even historic trees (eg ficus King Edward VII, ironwood Russian Emperor Nicholas II and spruce planted Yuri Gagarin). The garden is divided into several areas, among which the most interesting area of Orchids (more than a thousand species for access to the collection of wild orchids need a special pass), Zone of indoor plants (over 750 species), Palm Grove (about 200 species of palm trees), and others.
The city Pinnavela (27 km. From Kandy) is the state elephant nursery Pinnavela (founded in 1975), which brought orphaned elephants. Here they are taught everything you need in terms of skills Lankans (and, of course, shown to tourists), and then some of them sent to zoos around the world, while others work in Ceylon. Elephants occupy an important place in the life of the country as well as a huge range of household works in many areas of life - they are chopping down the forest, carrying cargo and travelers who participate in all religious ceremonies and traditional performances, it's no wonder such a respect for these animals, which show the Sri Lankans .
In Aluvihara located temple-cave complex, which, according to legend, was created by the Pali Canon (Tripitaka) - one of the written monuments of Buddhism.
Anuradhapura - not only the ancient capital of the country, but also the holy city. This ancient royal residence was established in the IV. BC. e. and in the time of late antiquity was widely known throughout the world (to X. was virtually destroyed). Subsequent rulers of the country have restored many of the great monuments of Anuradhapura. Restoration work until the middle of the XX century was restored in its original form a small part of this immense complex, but still magnificent ruins of the old town, many of which still await their recovery, cover an area of over 60 square meters. km. Massive irrigation system with seven reservoirs and a complex system of channels even today are amazed specialists.
The largest of the surviving monasteries of Anuradhapura - vihara (monastery) Abhayagiri (the second largest Buddhist stupa in the world, 122 m.), Which is considered one of the eight holy places of the city. According to legend, vihara built on the very spot where the Buddha footprint imprinted. In the yard of one of the temples, surrounded by a golden fence, stands the sacred Bo tree ("the tree of Buddha"), the oldest in the world. His appendix was brought here from India in the III. BC. e. Sacred Buddhist dagoba (stupa) Ruvanveliseya, Jetavana, Ruvanaveli, Thuparama and other builders in the skill and grace Thread considered true masterpieces of ancient architecture. The size of these structures is comparable only to that of the Egyptian pyramids, which makes their real engineering feat.
Sigiriya ("Lion Mountain") - another magnificent monument to the past. It's a lonely remnant mountain towering above the surrounding plain overgrown jungle of 200 meters, on top of which in V. n. e. has built a unique royal palace-fortress of the king Kassiap. Amazing mural gallery (to have survived only nineteen of 500 of these unique paintings) and amazing for the quality of execution of the decorative elements decorating the interior of many of the great palace. Throughout the ruins of colossal in size sculptures, dozens of carved into the rock terraces and stairs, the remains of the halls, walls and deep pools, hundreds of square feet of bright, despite his age, murals, scenic rocky grottos gazebos and dozens of other ancient structures, attracts thousands people from around the world. At the foot of Sigiriya is not the place of the triple ring of ancient defensive ditches and royal baths, stretched beautiful "water gardens" - the oldest in Asia. Here is a Buddhist monastery and Mahayana, including the cave temples, halls for meditation, flowering gardens and ponds.
12 km. southwest of Sigiriya is a complex of cave temples of Dambulla (Dambulla Vahaya Rangiroa), the oldest of which dates to the I century. BC. e. Here, in an area of 20 hectares, at an altitude of 350 meters, is located five large and many small caves with countless statues of Buddha and unique wall paintings V-XVIII centuries. Cave Devaradzhalena with adjoining outside the chapel dedicated to the god Vishnu, Maharadzhalena ("Temple of Great Kings") stores and 11 stupa Buddha sculptures. Maha Vihara Aluto ("Great New Temple") contains the statue of the Sleeping Buddha (9 m. Altitude) and meditating Buddha, surrounded by 13 statues of Buddha in the lotus position and 42 statues of standing Buddha, and the ceiling of the cave is decorated with 1000 images of Buddha in meditation. One of the wonders of the Dambulla cave is considered, the walls of which, framed by unique stone carving up (!!) water flows. At the highest point of the cave water collects and falls down in a golden cup, and around meditating monks in orange togas - full surrealism!
North of Dambulla is a hill Mihintale - a sacred place for Buddhists in Sri Lanka. Here are the ruins of an ancient temple complex, but this region famous for the fact that here, Buddhism began to spread across the island. One of the main attractions of the country - Adams Peak (Sri Pada Shrivan adipate 2243 m.) - The holy mountain, not only for the inhabitants of the country, but also to members of all four world religions. At the top of the hill is a rock with footprints. Buddhists believe that Gautama Buddha's footprints, Hindus claim that the prints belong to Lord Shiva, the Muslims claim that for the first time set foot on the land of Adam, Christians believe that this trail St. Thomas. Tens of thousands of believers from around the world ascent (extremely tedious, by the way) to touch his lips to the sacred fingerprints.
It is interesting to visit the remains of the old fort at Trincomalee, one of the centers of commerce in the Middle Ages, also known by its cliff Swami Rock and picturesque surroundings with dozens of bays.
The country is famous for its beautiful beaches, stretching for hundreds of kilometers along the coast of the island. Based on them, built many fine resorts, as well as independent hotel complexes - Ahungalla, Beruwela, Bentota, Vaduvva, Galle Induruwa, Kandalama, Kalkudah, Kalutara, Kogalla, Mount Lavinia, Negombo, Hikkaduwa and others. 180 km. of the capital, at an altitude of 2 thousand. m. above sea level, lies the mountain resort of Nuwara Eliya - land of the beautiful climate and "tea capital of the country", which bears the title has long been one of the best resorts in Asia. In Nuwara Eliya many mansions of colonial style, the residence of the President of Queen's House, the beautiful Victoria Park, a variety of ancient and modern hotels, beautiful golf course, race track, Lake Gregory trout farm and many opportunities for recreation. The surrounding mountain slopes grow the world's best black tea, runs a variety of mountain rivers with waterfalls, and nearby stands the highest mountain of the island - Pidurutalagala. In the mountainous parts of Sri Lanka waterfalls set in the Nuwara Eliya district is considered here just for the record their number.
Climate Sri Lanka
Sub-equatorial and equatorial monsoon greatly complicated topography and the general orientation of the island from north to south. The average annual temperature in the plains around + 29-31 C (seasonal fluctuations are negligible) in the mountainous region - from +16 C to +24 ° C. The temperature of sea water all year above 25 C.
Time Sri Lanka
Ahead of Moscow for 3 hours in winter and 2 hours in the summer.
Language Sri Lanka
Official language - Sinhala, has indoaraviyskie roots. In the business community has also adopted English. Virtually all of the population speaks English.
Money Sri Lanka
The official currency in circulation in Sri Lanka is Lanka Rupee. 1 Lanka Rupee is equal to 100 cents. The appeal denominations of 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 and Rs 1,000, as well as coins of 1, 2, 5, 10, 25, 50 cents and 1,2,5 Rs. Large hotels and shops accept international credit cards. Foreign currency into the country must be declared.
Visa Sri Lanka
Russian citizens to visit Sri Lanka for the purpose of tourism for a period not exceeding 30 days, a visa in advance is required. Visa is issued on arrival at the border.
When crossing the border must present the following documents:
passport, which is valid for at least three months after the end of the trip;
completed in English migration card, which is issued either on the plane or just before passport control at the airport Banadaranayke Colombo;
hotel booking confirmation or cash at the time of his stay in Sri Lanka, at the rate of $ 15 per person per day;
a return ticket with a fixed date of departure.
The visa fee will be charged.
Extending your stay: Renewing your tourist visa issued on arrival in the territory of Sri Lanka is not possible.
Visa at the Embassy:
If you plan to visit a long (over 30 days), business trip or other trip, the purpose of which is not tourism, or the validity of the passport is less than 3 months after the end of the trip, you must arrange a visa in advance at the Consular Section of the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Moscow.
Documents required to obtain a visa:
passport, which is valid for at least three months after the end of the trip;
2 identical color photographs measuring 3 x 4 cm on a light background with no corners, ovals, and frameworks;
round trip tickets with a fixed date;
Visa application form filled out in English and signed personally by the applicant;
invitation (original or fax) from the host, which contains the terms and purpose of travel, place of residence in Sri Lanka, the personal data of the invitee, obligations of the host of the assumption of financial responsibility for the applicant's stay in the country;
original letter from the sending party (company or firms), which specifies the terms and purpose of the trip, as well as personal information about the applicant.
Terms of visa: A visa is normally issued on the same day.
Visa procedure at the Embassy:
For a visa to the Consular Section of the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Moscow can be submitted in person or by proxy. Reception of documents is carried out from Monday to Friday from 09.00 to 13.00. Issuance of visas ready - Monday to Friday from 15.00 to 16.45.
If the visa is issued at the embassy, consular fee collection, which ranges from $ 31 to $ 64 depending on the type of visa and the period of its validity. The fee is payable in dollars directly at the consular department when submitting documents.
Traditions Sri Lanka
Religion: about 70% of the population - Buddhists - 15% Hindus (Tamils), 8% - Christians, 7% - Muslims. The Constitution guarantees freedom of religion, but gives the dominant position of Buddhism as "occupying a dominant position."
Public holidays are considered to be January 1, February 4 - Independence Day of Sri Lanka, 1 and May 22, June 30, August 9, 25 and 26 December, as well as religious holidays of all religions of the country.
The abundance of festivals and religious holidays in the country simply can not be described, but most of them are "internal events" of a particular religious group or a rural community, so the specific date of the event remain unknown to tourists. Moreover, not all of which are permitted tourists. Therefore, the dates of specific events is better to specify in place.
The most well known and popular with tourists and locals are "Kandy Esala Perahera" (July-August) - a ten-ceremony with thousands of events dedicated to the sacred tooth of Buddha from the temple of Kandy. The second most important holiday of the country - "Duruthu Perahera" (January, Colombo) on the arrival of the Buddha to Sri Lanka. In those days held the traditional annual parade "navam" to the walls of the main Buddhist temple of the capital - Gangaramya. Noisy and fun to celebrate the New Year (March-April), followed by races on elephants and a variety of sporting events. Traditional "Besakih" (May), the first day of the Hindu New Year and one of the major festivals of Sikhism, as well as "Buddha Jayanti" (April-May, the main festival of the Buddhists) is widely celebrated in the north of the country.
Hindu festival conducted (July-August) held in Colombo says the ceremony Directions sacred chariot war god Skanda. Kataragama festival (July-August) is held in Katagarame and accompanied by religious beliefs and ritual ceremonies shocking. Numerous pilgrims come to Adam's Peak, which, according to tradition, Adam and Eve lived after being expelled from paradise. Muslims celebrate the sacrifice of the island "Eid-ul-Azha" (April-May), the birthday of Prophet Mohammed Eid-e-Milad (Mawlid al-Nabi, May-June), a day of mourning of Muharram (Tadzhiyya, May-June), Eid n-Milad (Bars vafat, October) and, of course, the holy Ramadan. Independence Day of the Republic of Sri Lanka (February 4) is celebrated by numerous parades, dance and theatrical performances.
Traditional cuisine Sri Lanka
Plant foods - the basis of the power of Sri Lankans. Rice, corn, peas, lentils and other legumes, as well as all kinds of flour from legumes and vegetables - an integral part of the local cuisine. Dominant place is, of course, rice. Flavored with curry spices and other ingredients, with seafood and fruit with coconut and vegetables, and in the most unimaginable at first sight combinations. Traditionally, most of the food is cooked in a clay or metal utensils, hand-made and an open fire. Everyday dishes are rice cakes "roti", pancakes made of rice flour and coconut milk, "Appa," rice vermicelli "indiappa" steamed rice-coconut mixture into a bamboo stalk, "pitta", pink rice in coconut milk "kiribad" and also came from India pilaf and others.
Meat consumed is relatively small - the cows are considered sacred animals, and resources for breeding sheep and poultry traditionally lacks. but the fish dishes and a variety of seafood just does not count. Tuna fillet in coconut sauce, dried and smoked fish of all kinds, squid, lobster, shrimp and a variety of shells are used throughout, both as stand-alone courses or as ingredients of various complex dishes that are so rich local cuisine. And all this is, again, an enormous number of seasoned greens and spices - garlic and pepper, saffron and nutmeg, ginger, cardamom, cinnamon and coriander, cumin, mustard and dozens of other lesser-known European to spices, used here in the most unimaginable combinations. Prolonged cooking all meals on an open fire, along with so many spices are often completely negate the original flavor of the original product, making it a truly exotic.
The most popular condiment, as well as in India, is the curry, which prepared many condiments and sauces. Also common hot sauce "oro" of fruits and spices, red hot sauce "masala", thick coconut milk "mitikiri", thinly sliced onions with a mixture of salt, dry fish, red pepper and lemon "lunumiris" rhizome of ginger in syrup and other exotic spices.
Certainly on the table there are a variety of salads, fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as a green beams or in the form of green salads, and used as the traditional tomatoes, peppers, onions and bamboo shoots, and a variety of exotic herbs, leaves special trees, flower banana tree or cactus, and some algae. An important place in the diet take fruit, which is simply an incredible amount.
The main drink on the island, of course, tea. There are hundreds of varieties and producers, practiced a variety of mixtures of herbs and fruits, and the special procedure for its preparation and the excellent quality of the local tea won a well-deserved popularity worldwide. Basically, on the island drink light tea (B.O.P), richer varieties (B.O.PF), the usual European, less common as mainly being exported. Not less sympathy relevant residents use coconut milk and a variety of fresh fruit juices (oranges do not grow on the island, so the orange juice, mostly imported, and therefore - not very tasty). Very popular kind of local strong alcoholic drink "arak", as well as gin and whiskey domestic production, but their taste for Europeans is quite unusual, and the consequences of the use of - sad, because the procedure for cleaning the local alcohol from fusel oil is virtually nonexistent. Local beer "Lion" is preparing to classic recipes and tastes good enough and cheap.
Political system Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka - Democratic Socialist Republic. Part of the Commonwealth. Head of state and government - the president (elected for 6 years), with a broad mandate. Legislative - unicameral parliament (the National State Assembly, 225 seats), whose members are elected for a term of 6 years. Administratively, the country is made up of 8 provinces.
Population Sri Lanka
About 19 million. People and continues to grow rapidly. In ethnically majority of the population - Sinhalese (75%), as well as Tamils (16%), Arabs, Malays, Burghers (descendants of mixed marriages with the Sri Lankans originating from Europe), Vedda (ancient, indigenous ethnic group of islands), and others. There is a high outflow of the Tamil population in India and other South Asian countries.
Customs Sri Lanka
Expensive items and things are declared for later unobstructed export. The export without special permission - items of historical or cultural value, antique masks, manuscripts, books, articles of ivory, and a collection of coins and stamps, rough precious and semi-precious stones, tea (2 kg).
Medical aid Sri Lanka
The epidemiological situation on the island generally calm. There is a risk of contracting malaria, Japanese encephalitis, hepatitis B, typhoid, cholera, Bengali, diphtheria, tetanus, rabies, dengue fever and others., But only if the non-compliance with basic hygiene standards. Preventive vaccination against malaria (there is a risk of infection in the inner parts of the country) or the use of anti-malarial tablets, as well as vaccination against hepatitis A and B.
Medicine in public health facilities free of charge (in particular - paid) and a very high level for the countries of Southeast Asia. Emergency medical assistance is provided quickly enough and qualified. Often, in the case of minor ailments hotel employees call the doctor working with this hotel.
Working hours Sri Lanka
Shops are open from 10.00 to 22.00.
Banks are open from 9.00 am to 13.00 pm (Monday - Friday).
Transport Sri Lanka
Highways in Sri Lanka with a good finish, but narrow, with right-hand traffic.
For personal travel, you can rent a car. Rent a car from $ 20 per day. The whereabouts of the nearest car rental agency, you can ask the receptionist. However, for your safety we recommend using the services of a chauffeur or a taxi.
Electricity Sri Lanka
Mains voltage - 210 - 240 volts. Sockets are usually triple (with "earth").
Tip Sri Lanka
Tipping is not mandatory. However, the receptionist at the hotel or the waiter at the restaurant will be happy a few extra cents.
Helpful information Sri Lanka
Emergency Service - 120, fire service - 122 Police - 133 Ambulance - 144, information and help - 11 811 (within the country), 11,812 (outside the country). Emergency Service - 120, fire service - 122 Police - 133 Ambulance - 144, information and help - 11 811 (within the country), 11,812 (outside the country).