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Art and Architecture

Art and Architecture

The most prominent examples of Sri Lanka’s Buddhist influenced architectural heritage are at the dagobas which can be seen from one end of the country to the other. In the shape of a dome, the dagoba, usually painted white, often enshrines a relic of the Buddha, such as a hair or a tooth, and is usually massively constructed of brick covered with a coat of plaster. The pan tiled roofs and verandahs which grace many older buildings are the legacy of the Portuguese and Dutch. Galle has many fine old Dutch buildings, while in Kandy and Nuwara Eliya there are many surviving buildings from the British colonial era which would not look out of place in an English country town.

Statues of the Buddha are features of ancient temple sites, where they are often carved from the living rock of basalt crags and crafts. The Buddha may be represented standing, reclining or sitting in meditation. Frescoes like those at Sigiriya may display beautiful women, temple dancers or deities.