Ratnapura City

From ancient times Ratnapura is known as the city of gems. The name comes from Sinhala and 'ratna' means 'gems' while 'pura' means city. There is no other reason to call this city 'the city of gems' other than that most of Sri Lanka's world-renowned precious stones such as blue sapphires, rubies, are found in the Ratnapura area.

Located about 100 km south east of Colombo and above 21m from sea level, Ratnapura is the capital of the Ratnapura District which is one of the two districts of the Sabaragamuwa Province. Gem mining has been the long-established major industry in the region and today most of its people depend on this glittering industry. Sri Lanka's major gem traders operate from Ratnapura where a large number of local and foreign gem traders gather to sell and buy precious stones. Nivitigala, Eheliyagoda, Kahawatte, Opanayaka, Rakwana, Pelmadulla and Kuruvita are the suburban gem mining and trading townships of Ratnapura. All these areas have produced the world's most precious and rarest gemstones making Sri Lanka 'ratna dveepa' the island of gems renowned world over. Blue Giant of Orient (466 cts), Logan Blue Sapphire (42 3cts), Blue Belle of Asia (400 cts), Rossar Reeves Star Ruby (138.7 cts), Star of Lanka (393 cts) and the Ray of Treasure (105 cts Cat's Eye) are some of the planet's priceless gemstones found in the Ratnapura area.

Agriculture is yet another major industry in the area and tea and rubber plantations surround the town. In addition paddy cultivations can be seen while fruits and vegetables are also grown as market products.

Towards the booming tourism in Sri Lanka, Ratnapura plays a significant role accounting for a number of religious, natural and other attractions among which the mountain Sri Pada (Adam's Peak), Pothgul Viharaya, Diva Guhava, Maha Saman Devale, Bopath Ella, Katugas Ella, Kirindi Ella, the Gem Museum, National Museum (Ehelepola Walauva) and Pompakelle Forest Park are most attracted by locals and foreigners alike. Also Ratnapura is a transit base to the world famous Sinharaja Rainforest Reserve, Uda Walawe National Park and Kitulgala. The route leading to hill country is gorgeous. The surrounding area is a popular trekking destination and a good place for bird watching and to view traditional gem mining and cutting operations.

Related Articles

Dambulla City

Dambulla is famed rock cave temple is an iconic Sri Lankan image you will be familiar with its spectacular Buddha filled interior long before you arr...

Kataragama City

Kataragama is a pilgrimage town sacred to Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim and indigenous Vedda people of Sri Lanka.

Kitulgala City

Kitulgala is a small town in the west of Sri Lanka. It is in the wet zone rain forest, which gets two monsoons each year, and is one of the wettest pl...

Unawatuna City

Unawatuna is a town in southern Sri Lanka. It’s known for its coral reef and its palm-lined beaches, like Unawatuna Beach. Nestled in nearby jungle,...

Sigiriya City

Sigiriya or Sinhagiri is an ancient rock fortress located in the northern Matale District near the town of Dambulla in the Central Province, Sri Lanka...

Galle City

Galle is a city on the southwest coast of Sri Lanka. It’s known for Galle Fort, the fortified old city founded by Portuguese colonists in the 16th c...

Thissamaharama City

Tissamaharama is a town in Hambantota District, Southern Province, Sri Lanka.

Koggala City

Koggala is a strange strip of abandoned holiday resorts, 5 star hotels and ATM machines. The beaches are definitely not crowded while the Koggala Rive...

View all Articles