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Sigiriya Rock Fortress

Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, Sigiriya is an astonishing feat of sophisticated engineering and construction.  Above this terracotta and grey core rock located in the cultural heart of the Island that rises over 600ft above the forested plain, one is sure to witness remnants of an ancient city along with symmetric pools, channels and fountains that unbelievably still spurt water after 1500 years.

This urban complex planned around the base of the rock is known to be Asia’s best-preserved city of the first millennium and is considered to be one of the oldest tourist attractions in the world.  It boasts of sophisticated engineering and irrigational skills, breathtaking art and architecture.  The pathway up the rock features the world-famous frescoes depicting 21 bare-breasted maidens that may represent celestial nymphs though some folklore states that these frescos are drawn after the king’s own consorts.  To enter this magnificent ancient city, one must first pass through the open mouth of a gargantuan lion at its entrance.

This city full of grandeur and beauty was founded by a visionary monarch, King Kasyapa, who transformed a sinister-looking black rock to a resplendent kingdom perched on clouds with lush gardens, palaces and pavilions.  Sigiriya was built to emulate Alakamanda, a decadent and prosperous city of gods found in Buddhist mythology. 

This rock fortress of ecological wonder filled with its numerous gardens, pavilions and works of art is a must-visit.

Title image by: Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau

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