Abayagiria (Fortress of Safety) Dagoba, Anurajapura
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of the Abhayagiri dagoba at Anuradhapura in Sri Lanka, taken by an unknown photographer in the 1880s. The ancient city of Anuradhapura was founded in about 600 BC and was the capital and principal religious centre of Sri Lanka for 1500 years, finally supplanted by Polonnaruwa. It now consists of extensive architectural ruins, including a number of monasteries. The Abhayagiri Vihara is one of four great monasteries at the site, each centring around a huge stupa or dagoba, the others being the Mahavihara, the Jetavana Vihara and the Mirisavati Vihara. Each monastery complex includes stupa-shrines, assembly halls, refectories, pools and bath houses. The remains of these great dagobas mostly date from the Later Anuradhapura period of architecture (9th to 10th century AD). A dagoba or stupa is a dome shaped structure of brick enclosing a small reliquary chamber which enshrines relics or images of the Buddha.