Sigiriya Rock Fortress is an amazing archaeological site in the central Matale District in North Central Sri Lanka. Located in an area dominated by a massive column of rock nearly 200 meters high, the fortress is also known as the Lion Rock. Sigiriya Rock Fortress is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Sri Lanka.
There is a fortified palace at the summit of the huge rock. It was built by King Kasyapa during the fifth century. He built his palace on the top of this rock and decorated its sides with colorful frescoes. The magnificent rock fortress is visible for miles from all directions and dominates the surrounding plain.
The 200 meter tall massive granite rock is the center of the Sigiriya Rock Fortress. Surrounding the palace complex are the two moats of the lower city at the foot of the rock which are defended by a massive wall. These moats are noteworthy for their terraced gardens and various pools.
There is a stone stairway leading from the base to the top of the rock. About half way to the top, there is a pair giant pair of lions paws. There is evidence to show that the lion structure was originally much larger and extended – head and shoulders out of the rock in a crouched position. The a huge head of a lion whose open mouth served as the entrance to the royal palace.
At the top of the rock, there is a palace complex. The capital and the royal palace were abandoned after the king’s death in 495. The ruins of various chambers, stairways and pools can be seen at the top till today.
Sigiriya today is one of the seven world heritage sites in Sri Lanka. It is regarded as the most visited historic site in Sri Lanka. Sigiriya Rock Fortress has the potential to become the most popular tourist spot in Sri Lanka.