Sigiriya, the "Lion Rock" of Sri Lanka
Art & Culture

Sigiriya, the "Lion Rock" of Sri Lanka

Sigiriya,Sri Lanka

Sigiriya, the "Lion Rock" of Sri Lanka

Sigiriya, also known as Lion Rock, is a gigantic ancient megalithic Sri Lankan rock located near the city of Dambulla. It is a spectacular 200 meters high natural formation that, at its top, preserves the ruins of an ancient fortified palace. This archaeological site loved by tourists is recognized was a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982 and is considered by locals as the "eighth wonder of the world".

The Sigiriya rock was formed by a hard magma plate, the remains of an extinct volcano. This citadel is situated on a summit and is carved entirely in stone. It was built in 405AD by King Kaspaya and is a real fortress which is surrounded by an extensive wall that once housed fountains, gardens, ponds and splendid boulevards, but above all an impregnable kingdom capable of dominating the population from above. The only access to the complex is a steep staircase of 1,200 steps, guarded by two enormous lion's paws carved in the rock.

Legend has it that Kaspaya took possession of the throne after killing his father by walling him alive and then forcing his legitimate heir to escape. But after a violent battle the betrayed brother regained power and transformed the fortress of Sigiriya into a monastery. You can still admire the caves used as a shelter by the monks in 300BC as both a shelter and place of spiritual retreat. Along these walls there are still about 20 frescoes whose date of origin is unknown which depict women, presumably Kaspaya’s concubines.

Sigiriya is visible from miles away and rises majestically between the surrounding plains and landscapes which is absolutely breathtaking. It is immersed in a thick jungle with both Stupa and numerous statues of Buddha, creating one of the most evocative and fascinating landscapes of Sri Lanka. This is a magical place where you can breathe an atmosphere which dates back to long ago.

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