Country Name Conventional long form: Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
conventional short form: Sri Lanka
former: Ceylon
   
Size 65,525 sq km
   
Capital Sri Jayawardenepura
   
Commercial Capital Colombo
   
Government Sri Lanka, is a free, independent and sovereign nation with a population of 18.774 million (1998 mid year estimates). Legislative power is exercised by a Parliament, elected by universal franchise on proportional representation basis. A President, who is also elected by the people, exercises executive power inclusive of defense. Sri Lanka enjoys a multi party system, and the people vote to elect a new government every six years.
   
National Flag National Flag of Sri Lanka is the Lion Flag. A Lion bearing a sword in its right hand is depicted in gold on red background with a yellow border. Four Bo leaves pointing inwards are at the four corners. Two vertical bands of green and orange at the mast end represent the minority ethnic groups. It is an adaptation of the standard of the last King of Sri Lanka.
  x
   
National Anthem "Sri Lanka Matha" composed by late Mr. Ananda Samarakoon.  
 
 
National Flower the Blue Water Lily (Nymphaea stellata) is the National Flower.
   
   
Population 19 million
   
Population density 309 people per sq km
   
Life expectancy at birth 74 female, 64 male
   
Literacy rate 91.8%
   
Languages Sinhala & Tamil English is widely spoken throughout Sri Lanka, with the exception of remote villages.
   
Ethnic mix Sihalese- 74 per cent; Tamil- 18 per cent; Muslim -7 per cent; Burgher (descendants of Dutch and Portuguese colonist) and others- 1 per cent
   
Religion Buddhism- 70 per cent; Hinduism- 16 per cent; Christianity- 7 per cent; Islam-7 per cent
   
Climate Low Lands – tropical, average 27C
Central Hills – cooler, with temperatures dropping to 14C. The south-west monsoon brings rain to the western, southern and central regions from May to July, while the north-eastern monsoon occurs in the north and east in December and January. Sri Lanka has a good climate for holiday-makers throughout the year.
   
Annual per capita GNP US$870
   
Industries Processing of rubber, tea, coconuts, and other agricultural commodities; clothing, cement, petroleum refining, textiles, tobacco.
   
Agriculture - Products Rice, sugarcane, grains, pulses, oilseed, roots, spices, tea, rubber, coconuts; milk, eggs, hides, meat.
   
Currency Sri Lanka follows decimal currency system in Rupees (Rs.) and cents (Cts.) with 100 cents equal to a rupee. Currency notes are available in the denominations of Rs. 2,10,20,50,100,200, 500 and 1000. Coins are issued in values of Cts.1,2,5,10, 25 and 50 and Rs.1,2,5 and 10. The intervention currency continuously will be the US Dollar.
   
Visa Residents from countries are issued visas on arrival. Consult your local Sri Lanka embassy, consulate, tourist office or your travel agent.
   
Working week Sri Lanka works a five-day week, from Monday to Friday.
   
Business hours Government offices 9.00 a.m. -5.00 p.m, Monday to Friday
   
Banks 9.00 a.m. to 1.00 p.m. or 3.00 p.m. Monday to Saturday
   
Post office 8.30 a.m.- 5.00 p.m.,
Monday to Friday
8.30 a.m. – 1.00 p.m. on Saturday. The Central Mail Exchange, at D.R.Wijewardene Mawatha, Colombo 10, (Telephone : 326203) is open 24-hours.
   
Location An island off the south-eastern cost shores of India, 880 km north of the equator, in the Indian Ocean.
   
  x