During the fourth century AC, Jetavanana stupa was the third tallest monument in the world, the other two being pyramids at Gizeh, Egypt. At the height of 120 meters Jetavana stupa is tallest brick building ever made. The 19th century British writer James Emerson narrated Jetavanana stupa contained a volume of bricks ‘sufficient to raise eight thousand houses each with twenty feet frontage…line an ordinary Railway tunnel twenty miles long, or form a wall one foot in thickness and ten feet in height, reaching from London to Edinburgh.
The whole sacred area covers about 5.6 hectares that was once surrounded by boundary wall of dressed stone that was 2.4 meters high. The boundary wall with four projections called Vahalkada or front entrances lead to the sand terrace called Valimaluva, an inner retaining wall which had originally carried the four parts of Elephants, and four altars called Ayakas. The stupa is built on raised square platform with flights of steps at the four cardinal points making access to terrace paved with stone. The stupa had undergone renovation by a succession of Sinhalese kings of Sri Lanka. The last king to have the Jetavana stupa renovated was King Parakrabahu the great in the 12th century. Recently it was renovated by the UNESCO-Sri Lanka Cultural Triangle Project.
Picture gallery of Jetavana Stupa