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General information about Sri Lanka

General information about Sri Lanka

Conventional long form : Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka

Conventional short form : Sri Lanka

Former : Ceylon

Size : 65,610 sq km

Capital : Sri Jayawardenepura

Commercial Capital : Colombo

Government :
Sri Lanka, is a free, independent and sovereign nation with a population of 19.5 million (2004 est). Legislative power is exercised by a Parliament, elected by universal franchise on proportional representation basis. A President, who is also elected by the people, exercises executive power including defense. Sri Lanka enjoys a multi party system, and the people vote to elect a new government every six years.

National Flag :
National Flag of Sri Lanka is the Lion Flag. A Lion bearing a sword in its right hand is depicted in gold on red background with a yellow border. Four Bo leaves pointing inwards are at the four corners. Two vertical bands of green and orange at the mast end represent the minority ethnic groups. It is an adaptation of the standard of the last King of Sri Lanka.

National Anthem : "Sri Lanka Matha" composed by late Mr. Ananda Samarakoon.

National Flower : The Blue Water Lily (Nymphaea stellata) is the National Flower.

Population : 19.5 million

Population Density : 296 people per sq km

Life Expectancy at Birth : 76.4 female, 71.7 male (2001 est)

Literacy Rate : 92.5%(2003 est)

Languages : Sinhala & Tamil is widely spoken throughout Sri Lanka.

Ethnic Mix : Sihalese, 74%; Tamil, 18%; Muslim 7%; Burgher (descendants of Dutch and Portuguese colonist) and others 1%

Religion : Buddhism 70%; Hinduism 16%; Christianity 7%; Islam 7%

Climate :
Low lands – tropical, average 27°C Central Hills – cooler, with temperatures dropping to 14°C. The south-west monsoon brings rain to the western, southern and central regions from May to July., while the north-eastern monsoon occurs in the north and east in December and January. Sri Lanka boasts of a good climate for holiday-makers throughout the year.

Annual per capital GNP : US $1197 (2005 est)

Industries : 
Processing of rubber, tea, coconuts, and other agricultural commodities; clothing, cement, petroleum refining, textiles, tobacco.

Agriculture - Products : 
Rice, sugarcane, grains, pulses, oilseed, roots, spices, tea, rubber, coconuts; milk, eggs, hides, meat.

Sri Lanka follows decimal currency systilable in the denominations of Rs. 2,10,20,50,100,200, 500,1000 and 2000 in Rupees (Rs.) and cents (Cts.) with 100 cents equal to a rupee. Currency notes are avaCoins are issued in values of Cts.1,2,5,10, 25 and 50 and Rs.1,2,5 and 10. The intervention currency continuously will be the US Dollar.

Visa : Consult your local Sri Lanka embassy, consulate, tourist office or your travel agent.

Working Week : Sri Lanka works a five-day week, from Monday to Friday.

Business Hours : Government offices 8.35 a.m. – 4.15 p.m,, Monday to Friday

Banks : 9.00 a.m. to 1.00 p.m. or 3.00 p.m. Monday to Saturday

Post Office : 
8.30 a.m.- 5.00 p.m., Monday to Friday 8.30 a.m. – 1.00 p.m. on Saturday. The Central Mail Exchange, at D.R.Wijewardene Mawatha, Colombo 10, (Telephone : 326203) is open 24-hours.

Location : An island off the south-eastern cost shores of India, 880 km north of the equator, in the Indian Ocean.