The majestic Sigiriya, also known as Lion Rock, is one of the most amazing and mysterious places in Sri Lanka. Located in the mountains of the central part of the island, this ruined ancient fortress attracts tourists from all over the world with its unique architecture and rich history.
The history of Sigiriya dates back to ancient times. According to legend, the fortress was built of pure gold by the architect Vishwakarman and presented to the wealthy deity Kubera. However, it soon fell into the hands of the demon-rakshasas led by Ravana, a ten-headed monster. Ravana kidnapped Prince Rama’s wife, leading to the liberation of the island and the destruction of Ravana by Rama himself.
A later version of the story links Sigiriya to the reign of Kassapa I in the fifth century AD. Kassapa, after killing his father, took the throne and began to develop the area. He built a palace and gardens that still impress with their beauty and harmony. However, after Kassapa’s death, Sigiriya ceased to exist as a residence of the rulers and became a monastery.
Sigiriya was abandoned in the fourteenth century and abandoned by people until the seventeenth century, when it again attracted the attention of archaeologists. The first extensive research was carried out by Bell in the late nineteenth century, and the Sri Lankan government did not begin serious work until 1982.
Today Sigiriya is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and attracts tourists with its unique attractions. Here are some of them:
1. Lion Steps: The entrance to Sigiriya is through a staircase laid out in the shape of a lion. It is an impressive architectural detail that immediately captures the imagination.
2. Ancient Murals: The most famous attraction of Sigiriya is the murals depicting beautiful women. These murals done on the rock are a unique example of ancient art and have attracted the interest of art researchers from all over the world.
3. Palace and Gardens: The remains of the palace and gardens atop Sigiriya bear testimony to the splendor and luxury that reigned here in ancient times. Every element of the architecture and landscape was thoughtfully designed to create an ideal place for a ruler to live.
4. Panoramic View: Climbing Sigiriya is rewarded with a stunning panoramic view of the surrounding nature. From the top, the view of the mountains and the flat plain is stunning and leaves an unforgettable experience.
Sigiriya is not only a historical site but also a true architectural masterpiece that continues to amaze and delight with its beauty. A visit to this unique fortress-monastery will be a true journey into the history and culture of Sri Lanka.