Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon), a tiny island nation south of India in the Indian Ocean, is a rugged land of rainforest, diverse wildlife and endless beaches. It’s famed for its ancient Buddhist ruins, including the 5th-century citadel Sigiriya, with its palace and frescoes, and the sacred city of Anuradhapura. Its flavorful cuisine reflects its history as a maritime hub and cultural melting pot.
A diverse and multicultural country, Sri Lanka is home to many religions, ethnic groups, and languages.In addition to the majority Sinhalese, it is home to large groups of Sri Lankan and Indian Tamils, Moors,Burghers, Malays, Kaffirs and the aboriginal Vedda. Sri Lanka has a rich Buddhist heritage, and the first known Buddhist writings of Sri Lanka, the Pāli Canon, dates back to the Fourth Buddhist council in 29 BC.
Sri Lanka is a republic and a unitary state governed by a semi-presidential system. The legislative capital,Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte, is a suburb of the commercial capital and largest city, Colombo.
Sri Lanka has had a long history of international engagement, as a founding member of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), and a member of the United Nations, the Commonwealth of Nations, the G77, and the Non-Aligned Movement. Along with the Maldives, Sri Lanka is one of the two countries in South Asia that are currently rated among high human development on the Human Development Index.