Before Ceylon (today Sri Lanka) became famous for its tea, the island was home to extensive cinnamon cultivation by the Dutch, starting in the eighteenth century. This was followed by the development of coffee plantations by the British in the nineteenth century. Around 1870 a fungal disease known as coffee blight resulted in a steep decline in coffee production. Coffee planters began growing tea instead, and by the end of the century, tea was the predominant crop.
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Pineapple is typically grown in Sri Lanka together in coconut, in the area known as the coconut triangle. Two types of pineapple are grown in Sri Lanka – Mauritius and Kew. The Sri Lanka pineapple is valued for its distinct taste.
Sri Lanka pineapple curry is a dish full of flavor, made with fresh pineapple, onions, hot green peppers, herbs, spices and the coconut milk.
Stupas are marvelous architectural creations of ancient Sri Lanka, made under influence of Buddhism. Stupas were built to contain relics, typically remains of Buddhist monks and were used as a place of meditation. First stupas were built in India in 5th c. BCE to contain relics of the Buddha.
Jackfruit is the largest fruit on a tree, with weights up to 120 lb (55 kg). Popular in many tropical regions in the world, it is the national fruit of Sri Lanka.
Sigiriya – the ancient fortress on a 660 ft high (200 m) rock, one of most recognizable historical sites of Sri Lanka. The ancient citadel was built in the 5th century. There are steps which will take you to the very top but climbing them is a bit of challenge in the tropical heat. This picture taken by me in 2010.
Ceylon Cinnamon, also called the true cinnamon, comes from the inner bark of a small tree native to Sri Lanka, in the past called Ceylon.
The other cinnamon, often confused with the true cinnamon, is Cassia cinnamon. It comes from a different tree, originated in the Southern China. It is much less expensive and may be harmful is consumed in larger quantities, this due to the substance it contains, called coumarin.
The island of Sri Lanka, previously called Ceylon, is located on the Indian Ocean, south of India. It’s size is 65.5 thousands of square km, or 25.3 thousands of square miles. The population size (2018) is 21.7 million people. Two main ethnic groups are Sinhalese (75%) and Sri Lankan Tamils (11%). The country gained independence from the UK in 1948, with the dominion status and became a republic in 1972 with the current constitution established in 1978.
The country’s flag shows on the right a gold lion with a sword, on a maroon background, on on the left two vertical panels – one green and one orange color.