Where Can You Buy Property in Sri Lanka?

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Sri Lanka, a drop of tears from an island off the coast of India, has been plagued by civil war and natural disasters for years. But now it is about to enter a new, peaceful era. With the end of two decades of civil war and the victory of the government troops over the rebellious Tamil Tigers, foreigners are taking a closer look at this beautiful island again.

For a small country Sri Lanka has an amazing natural diversity. It is a tropical island, but the hilly interior with its waterfalls and green tea plantations can be a quick escape from the heat of the coastal plains. With attractions such as the Sinharaja Rainforest, Sri Lanka is also an ecotourist's paradise.

The country has distinct dry and rainy seasons with two monsoons. The Yala monsoon brings rain to the southwestern half of the country from May to August, followed by the dry season from December to March. The Maha monsoon is active in the northern and eastern parts of the country from October to January, followed by the dry season from May to December. There is also an inter-monsoon season in October and November, when it can rain in many places.

This also means that there is always the right weather along the coast to enjoy the beaches. Sri Lanka has several popular beach resorts and dive sites. Sri Lanka was hit hard by the tsunami on Boxing Day 2004, but the country is still on the road to recovery and reconstruction.

Stupas and colossal stone buildings all over the island bear witness to Sri Lanka's long and rich history spanning 2,000 years. Its huge neighbour, India, has had a major influence on life on the island. Over time, many kingdoms have sprung up, flourished and died in places like Colombo, Polonnaruwa, Sigiriya, Anuradhapura and Kandy.

The first Europeans to reach the country were the Portuguese in 1505, who named the island Ceil√£o, established a trading post and built a fortress near the old natural harbour of Colombo. The Singhalese moved their capital to Kandy in the interior of the country, as it could be better defended. The Portuguese were followed by the Dutch, who managed to gain control of the island with the exception of the kingdom of Kandy.

In 1659 a British ship was forced to land in Ceylon (as it was then called). The crew was imprisoned by the King of Kandyan and forced to live on the island. One of the sailors, Robert Knox, managed to escape after having lived on the island for two decades. On the way back to England he wrote a report about his stay. The book drew the attention of the British to the island.

In 1802 the Dutch part of the island was formally ceded to Britain and Ceylon became a British Crown Colony. In 1803 the British invaded Kandy, but were beaten back in the first Kandyan War. However, Kandy was under British control until 1815 and finally ended Sri Lanka's independence by 1948.

There were repeated tensions between the majority population of the country, the Buddhist Singhalese and the Hindu Tamils, who are in the minority. The feeling of alienation and distrust between the communities led to the outbreak of civil war in 1983 between the government and militant Tamil groups led by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealem (LTTE). The war ended in early 2009 with the death of LTTE leader Prabhakaran.

As Sri Lanka is limping on the road to normality, there is an unprecedented opportunity for the discerning real estate buyer to get an early start on one of South Asia's most promising tourist destinations.

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