Sri Lanka Population, Main Cities and Geography

By | January 27, 2023

Sri Lanka: population and cities


According to Countryaah website, as of January 1, 2019, Sri Lanka had around 21 million residents.

Ethnic composition

About 74% Sinhalese, 18% Tamil, 7% Arab and other minority groups live in Sri Lanka.


affiliation Approximately 70% of the population of Sri Lanka are Buddhists, 12% Hindus, 10% Muslims and 7% Christians live on the island.

National languages

Sinhala and Tamil are the official languages of Sri Lanka. English is also widely spoken.

Capital and other cities

The official capital with the seat of government of Sri Lanka is officially Sri Jayewardenepura – Kotte de facto but Colombo with around 700,000 residents. According to Abbreviation Finder, LKA stands for Sri Lanka in English. Click to see other meanings of this 3-letter acronym.

Other cities are:

  • Dehiwala-Mount Lavinia with approx. 210,000 residents
  • Moratuwa with approx. 177,500 residents
  • Jaffna with approx. 145,600 residents
  • Negombo with approx. 122,000 residents
  • Sri Jayewardenepura with approx. 115,000 residents
  • Kandy with approx. 110,000 residents

Sri Lanka: geography, map

The island of Sri Lanka is located in southeast India and is only 600 km from the equator. The extension of the island is around 435 km from north to south and around 225 km from east to west. The island has a coast to the Indian Ocean with a length of around 1,330 km. Check topmbadirectory for politics, flags, famous people, animals and plants of Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka is separated from India by sandbanks, reefs and small islands that form the “Adams Bridge”. In the central south of the country, a mountain landscape rises to a height of over 2,500 meters.

The island is a natural paradise, where you can find a great variety of species – including wild elephants and leopards – between cloud forests, tropical rainforests, beaches and dry zones.

This makes Sri Lanka one of the five biodiversity hotspots. Sri Lanka has a forest area of approximately 15,000 km². In addition to tropical rain forests and mountain cloud forests, deciduous and evergreen monsoon forests predominate. In addition to the precious woods, such as the Ceylon ironwood tree, the ebony tree or the satinwood tree, you can also find the kapok tree, the saman tree and various fig tree species.

Area and land use

Sri Lanka covers an area of 65,525 km².


  • ForestAbout 20% (approx. 15,000 km²) of the island is covered with forest.
  • Meadow and pasture landAbout 30% of the area of Sri Lanka is used as meadow and pasture land.
  • Fields and fieldsAround 14% of the area of Sri Lanka is used for agricultural purposes. The famous Ceylon tea is mainly grown in Sri Lanka.
  • MountainsIn the central south of Sri Lanka, a highland rises to over 2,500 m.

Tidal range

In Colombo the mean tidal range is around 3 m.

For detailed explanations of ebb and flow, see Tides, Ebb and Flow.


The world’s highest tidal range can be found in the Bay of Fundy in Canada, where it is up to 16 m, and at spring tide even over 20 m. The Bay of Fundy is located on the Atlantic between the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, which is called Nova Scotia in German and whose capital is Halifax.

On the German North Sea coast it varies between 1 m and 3 m. In the western Baltic Sea, on the other hand, the tidal range is only 0.3 m, while it is barely noticeable in the eastern Baltic Sea.

Longitude and latitude

Sri Lanka extends over the following geographical latitude (abbreviation Δφ) and geographical longitude (abbreviation Δλ):

Δφ = from 05 ° 50 ‘to 09 ° 45’ north latitude Δλ = from around 79 ° 40 ‘to around 81 ° 50’ east longitude

You can find detailed information on this subject under Longitude and Latitude.

Legal time

In Sri Lanka, it is the following number of hours later than Central European Time (CET), i.e. without taking summer time into account:

Δt (CET) = + 5 h

Further and detailed explanations of the time can be found under Time zones, time.

Highest level of the sun in Colombo

Colombo is located at a northern latitude of around φ = 07 ° and thus in the middle of the tropics.

If the declination δ of the sun has the value 07 ° N, and the sun’s image point is thus exactly above the city, the sun is perpendicular there. This happens exactly twice a year, roughly 27 days after March 21st and then again 27 days before September 21st.


If the image point of the sun and thus the declination δ is north of the latitude of Colombo, the sun is not in the south at noon, as in our latitudes, but in the north. In this case, the sun moves from east to north to west, where, like us, it sets.

You can find more detailed explanations of the highest sun levels under: Sun position)



The highest mountain on the island is the Pidurutalagala with a height of 2,524 m.

Adam’s Peak

Another high mountain is Adam’s Peak with a height of 2,243 m.


Mahaweli Ganga

The longest river in the country is the Mahaweli Ganga with a length of around 335 km.

Other rivers are:

  • Malwathu Oya with a length of 164 km
  • Kalu Ganga with a length of 129 km


There are numerous lakes and reservoirs in Sri Lanka. The largest lakes include:

  • Ulhitiya Oya Reservoir
  • Victoria Reservoir
  • Uda Walawe Reservoir
  • Lunuganwehera Reservoir


Between Sri Lanka and the Indian mainland, a series of smaller islands, sandbanks and coral reefs run along, which together are called the Adams Bridge (Adams Bridge)


  • Delft
  • Karaitivu
  • Kayts

Indian Ocean and Bay of Bengal

Indian Ocean

The Indian Ocean covers an area of 74.9 million km², making it the third largest ocean in the world after the Pacific and the Atlantic. By far the largest part of this ocean is in the southern hemisphere. It extends from

its greatest depth with 8,047 m in the so-called Diamantina Deep.

Sri Lanka Population