Sigiria is a volcanic plateau located in central Sri Lanka. The plateau is protected by UNESCO because on its summit are the ruins of an old castle

A bit of history

Sri Lanka is an island of volcanoes. One of them erupted and created a plateau called Sigiriya. In ancient B.C. the plateau was occupied by Buddhist monks, then they were replaced by kings who hid in these surroundings for fear of reprisals against them. During the king’s wanderings, a castle was built in Sigiriya, which later grew into a small impregnable fortress town. However, the fort did not save the king and he was forced to commit suicide. For many centuries, Sigiriya was abandoned and no one remembered or knew about it. That all changed in the 19th century when the British stumbled upon the mysterious plateau, thoroughly exploring every corner of the island. The wind, sun and rain left little of the fortress, but that didn’t stop archaeologists from excavating.

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Sigiriya – what does the name mean? 

Sigiriya means ‘The Lion’s Rock’ in Lankan. The plateau got this name because of the unusual design of the entrance to the fortress. The entrance was shaped as a huge lion and between its front paws were steps leading into the fortress itself. The lion was not chosen at random, as it symbolises protection for the locals against evil. Unfortunately, due to the effects of natural phenomena, the staircase has been almost completely destroyed. 

What to see in Sigiriya?

If you’re wondering what to see in Sigiriya, our answer is definitely the ruins of the ancient fortress city. Many secrets are still kept by Sigiriya. How in less than 20 years the whole town was built on the volcanic plateau, moreover, it was not only built, some parts of it were cut into the rock perfectly and this is in the 4th century B.C. and no one knows for sure!

If you decide to visit Sigiriya, a must-see after the ruins should be the gardens. The gardens of Sigiriya are listed in the heritage of the planet as one of the most beautiful ever created by man. There are several gardens present in Sigiriya, below we will introduce each of them. 

Water Gardens (water gardens). These gardens are surrounded by pools in several rows. The most amazing thing about them is that during the rainy season, fountains started to flow here. This was achieved by laying an intricate hydraulic system underground.

Stone gardens. If you imagined flowers carved out of stones, you are very much mistaken. The stone gardens of Sigiriya are a protective structure located on the slopes of the fortress. In case of need, these blocks were rolled down from above onto enemies. 

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You should definitely see it – the mirror wall

Practically at the top of the fortress is a unique place – the hall of mirrors. It’s hard to believe, but in the 4th century BC the Lankans managed to decorate an entire stone wall with polished porcelain. This wall served as a mirror for the royal family to admire themselves. 

To sum up

Sigiriya is definitely worth your attention and a must visit. The mystical fortress is often compared to Macha Picchu, for it is still not known for sure how a town, which was built in a short period of time, was able to surpass its time by several centuries, at an altitude of almost 500 metres. The local people of Sigiriya are also shrouded in mystery and myth. Not a single grave has been found at the excavation site, and what happened to the locals of the fortress after the suicide of the king is unknown. Not a single written reference to it has survived to this day.

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