The Ruwanweliseya Stupa, which is considered an architectural marvel, was built by King Dutugemunu. It is also known as Mahathupa, Swarnamali Chaitya and Rathnamali Dagaba. The Stupa is one of the worlds tallest monuments, standing at 300 feet with a circumference of 950 feet. More info and images after the jump.
According to ancient texts, the raw materials used during construction included, Gold, Silver, Pearls, Coral, clay bricks, Copper and precious gems. Construction work on the Stupa began on the full moon day during the Vesak period (April - May). According to Buddhism, the Vesak full moon day is considered sacred as numerous important events took place on this day. These included the birth and passing of the Buddha, his arrival in Sri Lanka and the arrival of Prince Vijaya to Sri Lanka.
The foundation stone was laid during the full moon in June - July. The King had 8 large water pots of gold and 8 of silver placed in the midst of the great Stupa. Around these pots he had a hundred and eight vases placed. He also had eight bricks of gold placed in the eight corners of the Stupa and a hundred and eight silver bricks placed around each of the gold bricks.
After the Buddha's Parinibbana (passing) his relics were enshrined and worshipped in Stupas by Princes of eight countries (two quarts in each country). The two quarts of the relics which were enshrined in the village of Ramagama were, according to the Buddha's determination, destined to be enshrined in the great Stupa Ruwanveli. King Dutugemunu took the relics on his head and circumambulated the relic chamber, which he entered from the east, three times and placed the relics on a silver couch which was arranged on the north side. When the enshrining of the relics was completed, two novices closed the relic chamber with two stone blocks.
King Dutugemunu passed away while gazing at the Ruwanweliseya when the great Stupa was completed up to the tenth square turret. He had ruled Sri Lanka for a period of 24 years. The construction was completed by his brother King Saddhatissa.
Source - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ruwanwelisaya
I captured these images in January 2010 when I last visited Anuradhapura. They were taken using a Canon 7D with a 100-400mm lens mounted on it. The first two images were captured across Tissa Wewa, while the third was captured from across a smaller tank. Ruwanweliseya is the larger of the two Stupas visible in the first image. The second is Mirisavetiya.