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Sigiriya

Sigiriya Rock Fortress
Fresco, Sigiriya

Rising 200 metres from the jungle floor, the famous Sigiriya Rock is probably the most impressive single attraction in Sri Lanka and its archaeological significance makes it a truly unforgettable place to visit. In the 5th century AD, having murdered his father and fearing an invasion by his brother who had been driven into exile in India, King Kassapa ordered an impressive palace to be built on the top of the Sigiriya rock and a new city was established around its base. However, Kassapa's rule and the Sigiriya dynasty were short lived as his brother, Mogallana, soon returned to defeat him and re-establish the capital in Anuradhapura, leaving Sigiriya in the hands of the local Buddhist monks. After that, the palace was left to decay and the surrounding town was reclaimed by the jungle and there it stayed until much more recently when it was rediscovered by British Archaeologist HCP Bell in 1898. Most of the lavish detail of the palace has long since gone, but fascinating original frescos do remain and everywhere you look there is evidence of past grandeur, through the impressive garden structures, the Mirrored Wall, the Lion Platform and the ruins at the summit. The climb to the summit takes approximately 1 hour and is steep in places, but the breath-taking view that awaits you is well worth the effort.

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