This is a Historic and Religious location.
You must purchase tickets when entering archaeological sites.
Definitely request for a Tour Guide fluent in the language of your choice to understand what you are looking at.
Anuradhapura is recognized as the first ancient capitol of Sri Lanka according to Buddhist literature. Even though evidence exists to indicate that natives already had an advanced civilization established, the Buddhist literature only accounts for the events since the establishment of Anuradhapura Capitol. With strong relationships with India, specially Emperor Asoka, Buddhism established strong roots into Sri Lankan culture and lifestyle during this era.
The city is surrounded by several large reservoirs, all man made. Their purpose was to provide people with water for drinking and farming, with the added benefit of cooling down the city limits despite this being in the dry zone of Sri Lanka. The city also holds multiple Buddhist monuments, the most sacred being the Sacred Bo Tree, “Jaya Sri Maha Bodhiya – ජය ශ්රී මහා බොධිය”, directly descending from the original “Sri Maha Bodhiya” in Buddha-Gaya, India, under which Lord Buddha attained enlightenment.
Although many more magnificent structures were built during this era, multiple foreign invasions, specially from South India, resulted in their destruction. What little left today for you to see are actually the achievements of archaeological restorations.