The ancient city of Polonnaruwa was made the capital of the land after it was moved from Anuradhapura for safety reasons in the 10th century AD. Being centrally located in the north central province of the country, the reason for choosing this location as the capital was due its close proximity cross of the Mahaveli River that offered a strategic defence barrier from the south. The kingdom of Polonnaruwa was declared by the first local king, King Vijayabahu I, after the defeat of the Chola invaders. Since then, the kingdom flourished under the rule of King Parakramabahu who developed the citadel by creating reservoirs and irrigation systems, improving agriculture and trade, and transforming the capital into a bustling metropolis. One of the best manmade reservoirs in the country, the Parakrama Samudra (the Sea of Parakrama) is a remarkable sight having been made to act as moat to the city and as a reservoir.
Polonnaruwa is now a great historical and archaeological site, with the ancient kingdom’s remains dotting the land and has since been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. As you explore the ruins, you are able to imagine the beauty and grandeur of the kingdom, with its advanced architecture, and the beautiful artistry that has been preserved for display at the Polonnaruwa Archaeological Museum.