Established in 993 AD the ancient capital of Polonnaruwa reached its peak in an age of magnificence in the 12th century when it was a thriving garden city. It was a grand statement soon abandoned and left to the jungle after successive rulers bankrupted themselves with excess and the threat of invasion from southern India. Today the ruins are wonderfully well-preserved, an extensive archaeological park packed with hundreds of ancient structures with the royal palace at its heart – the Quadrangle just north of the centre, a cluster of religious buildings, is worth the visit alone, giving an intriguing peek at a medieval Sri Lankan kingdom.
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The world’s largest and most populous continent, Asia is a vibrant and rambunctious fusion of ethnicities, cultures and customs; an incomparably rich and turbulent history showcased by mindboggling feats of architecture and engineering; a geography that encompasses towering peaks, unfathomable gorges and paradisiacal beaches; and a biodiversity that is so abundant that you’ll be reaching for your wildlife guide.