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Thursday 24th August
Sri Lanka Information - Page 1
Geography
The Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is an island in the Indian Ocean, south of the Indian subcontinent.

Colombo is the capital city; Sri Jayewardenepura Kotte, the legislative capital, is ten kilometres from Colombo. Commercial ports are Colombo, Galle, Kankasanthurai and Trincomalee.

Much of Sri Lanka is rolling plain with mountains in the south central region. The Mahaweli Ganga is Sri Lanka's longest river.

Sri Lanka's climate is tropical, with cooler weather at higher elevations. The northeast monsoon is from December to March and the southwest monsoon from June to October.

Environment
Sri Lanka, a small island near the equator, has a variety of landscapes including rolling plains, mountains, plateaux, coastline, rivers, lagoons and rainforests.

There are around seventy protected areas. The Sinharaja Forest Reserve, an area of tropical rainforest, is a World Heritage site. Many of the trees are rare and the forest is home to over fifty percent of the island's wildlife.

National Parks include Gal Oya National Park, Horton Plains National Park, Wasgamuwa National Park and Wilpattu National Park. The Annaiwilundawa Tanks Sanctuary and Bundala National Park are on the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance.

Sri Lanka has over two hundred and forty known species of butterflies and over four hundred recorded species of birds. Animals include the sloth bear, deer, elephants, leopards, monkeys, porcupines, crocodiles and the Star Tortoise.

Architecture
There are a number of buildings of architectural note in Sri Lanka. Examples of Buddhist temples, Hindu temples, mosques and Christian churches can be seen in Colombo.

UNESCO World Heritage lists some of the country's sites of historical importance. These include the Golden Temple of Dambulla, the best preserved cave-temple complex in Sri Lanka; the Sacred City of Anuradhapura, the first capital of Sri Lanka, founded in the fifth century BC; Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka's second capital city, and the Sacred City of Kandy (Senkadagalapura), the last capital of the Sinhala kings.

Population
The population of Sri Lanka was estimated at 21,128,772 in 2008.

Languages
Sinhalese and Tamil are official languages. English is spoken by many of the population.

Religion
A large percentage of the population is Buddhist. Other religions practised in Sri Lanka are Hindu, Christian and Muslim.

Food
Home grown spices and vegetables are used in Sri Lankan cuisine: black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, turmeric, chillies, garlic, onions, peppers and tomatoes. Coconut milk is also an important ingredient in the preparation of dishes such as rice and curry.

Curries - meat, fish or vegetable - are often eaten with flat bread called roti.

Rice is also prepared as a sweet dish. Desserts make use of tropical fruits such as mango, papaya, passion fruit and pineapple.

Locally grown tea is the national drink. Arrack is the local alcoholic drink.

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