Ancient Sinhalese stone sculpture and inscriptions are known worldwide and is a main foreign attraction in modern tourism. Folk poems were sung by workers to accompany their work and narrate the story of their lives.
Ideally these poems consisted of four lines and, in the composition of these poems, special attention had been paid to the rhyming patterns.
Sinhalese culture is a unique one dating as far back as 2600 years and has been nourished by Theravada Buddhism.
Its main domains are sculpture, fine arts, literature, dancing, poetry and a wide variety of folk beliefs and rituals traditionally.
Parakramabahu VI in the 15th century was the only Sinhalese king during this time who could bring back the unity of the whole island.
Trade also increased during this period, as Sri Lanka began to trade Cinnamon and a large number of Muslim traders were bought into the island.
According to the Samyutta Commentary, Tambapanni was one hundred leagues in extent.
After landing in Tambapanni Vijaya met Kuveni the queen of the Yakkhas, who was disguised as a beautiful woman but was really a 'yakkini' (devil) named Sesapathi.
Rulers such as Dutthagamani, Valagamba, and Dhatusena are noted for defeating the South Indians and regaining control of the kingdom.
Other rulers who are notable for military achievements include Gajabahu I, who launched an invasion against the invaders, and Sena II, who sent his armies to assist a Pandyan prince.
It traces the historical origin of the Sinhalese people back to the first king of Sri Lanka, Vijaya, who is the grandson of Sinhabahu (Sanskrit meaning 'Sinha' (lion) 'bahu' (hands, feet), the ruler of Sinhapura.