Ancient City of Sigiriya: A UNESCO World Heritage Site


Sigiriya Fortress in Sri Lanka

The Ancient City of Sigiriya is proudly referred to as the “Eighth Wonder of the World”. Sigiriya comes from Sihagri, meaning Lion. This ancient city is one of the most visited places in Sri Lanka and holds great archaeological importance. The famed Rock Fortress has a height of 370 meters above the sea level.

Sigiriya rock Fortress photos via Depositphotos

Amidst the lush greenery of Sri Lanka, Sigiriya Rock stands 200 meters above the surrounding plains. The Sigiriya rock is believed to be serving as a monastery since the third century BC. In the 5th century, it was converted into the home for the King Kashyapa. After the death of the king, the ancient city of Sigiriya turned into a Buddhist monastery which was abandoned in the fourteenth century.

Some of the striking features of this place are the mirror wall, female frescoes, and inscriptions dating back to the eighth century. The ancient city of Sigiriya is the most beautiful among all the former capitals of the country of Sri Lanka.

Tourists Sigiriya Fortress in Sri Lanka
Tourists Sigiriya Fortress in Sri Lanka

How to get there?

  • By Air – The fastest option to reach Sigiriya from Colombo is by air. Book a domestic flight from Colombo to Sigiriya which will take about half an hour.
  • By Train– Opting for a train journey will cost you a very nominal price. However, there are no direct trains from Colombo to Sigiriya. So, hop aboard the train to Habrana from Colombo. Then take a taxi from Habarana to Sigiriya which is a distance of 17 kilometers.
  • By Private Car – The best and the most scenic way of traveling to Sigiriya is by road. You will get to experience mesmerizing sites on the journey. Take a bus from Kandy, Sri Lanka to Sigiriya. The journey will take about four hours with attractive views.
Visiting Sigiriya Rock Fortress in Sri Lanka photo via Depositphotos
Visiting Sigiriya Rock Fortress in Sri Lanka photo via Depositphotos

UNESCO World Heritage Site

The ancient city of Sigiriya is listed as the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The Rock fortress built from granite is known to possess the remains of the King Kasappa 1. The entrance to the palace is provided by a long series of stairs and galleries.

The stairs emerge from the massive mouth of the enormous Lion Rock. There are large mural paintings and presentations of women on the rocks.

View from Sigiriya Rock Fortress images via Depositphotos
View from Sigiriya Rock Fortress images via Depositphotos

Interesting Facts about Sigiriya

  • It is one of the best examples of ancient urban planning.
  • The climb to the top of the Rock Fortress is 1250 steps long.
  • The mirror wall which is 140 meters long and 40 meters high is covered with paintings of women.
  • An integrated system of canals, lakes, and dams is extremely impressive and supply water to the lush gardens of the place.
  • The ancient city of Sigiriya is also known as “Lion’s Rock”. There is a facade halfway up the rock which is constructed in the form of a lion. The staircase that leads up to the top emerges from the mouth of the lion.
  • The frescoes of women that are inscribed on the walls of the rock palace are often taken as inspiration by the poets of Sigiriya. A very popular poem named “The Chant of The Loverboy Agboy” is an example of the works inspired by the place.

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