The Mystery and Magic of Sigiriya
Sigiriya Fortress is an ancient palace and fortress complex located in the central Matale District of Sri Lanka. Also known as the Lion Rock, Sigiriya Fortress was built during the fifth century by King Kashyapa, who ruled the region from 477 until 495.
The fortress was constructed to serve as a symbol of power and wealth, with Kashyapa leaving no stone unturned in crafting a magnificent monument that has remained one of the most important historical sites in the world.
Sigiriya Fortress is made up of three parts: the lower palace, the upper palace, and the rock plateau on which the palace was built. The lower palace is the location of the residence of King Kashyapa’s queens, while the upper palace is where he resided with his personal entourage.
The summit of the rock consisted of a beautiful palace, believed to be built as a shrine to a goddess. The palace was constructed on top of a 200-meter rock, making it a formidable fortress that was incredibly difficult to attack.
The architecture and design of Sigiriya Fortress is breathtaking, with possible influences coming from Hinduism, Buddhism, and the architecture of the ancient Persians. The fortress features a sophisticated water supply and was built using advanced construction techniques of the time.
Many of the walls and artefacts within Sigiriya are adorned with beautiful frescoes of the female form. These frescoes, which depict the mystical “cloud damsels,” present a unique image of the people who lived during the Sigiriya era.
Despite its grandeur, the fortress had a grim history. After Kashyapa’s death, the fortress fell into disuse and eventually became a monastery. In the 14th century, the fortress was abandoned altogether, and its ruins fell prey to the elements.
It was only in the 19th century that Sigiriya Fortress was rediscovered, and its historical importance was recognized. Today, Sigiriya Fortress is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is visited by thousands of people each year.
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