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Citadel of Sigiriya

The Sigiriya Rock

Following the assassination of his father, Prince Kassapa became the King of Lanka. After his coronation, he started to build a magnificent residence on the 200 m-high Sigiriya Rock.

Because the rock was invulnerable, Kassapa did not build a fortress, but a palace - a magnificent version of "Kailasa", the paradise mountain in the Himalayas.


Sigiriya Frescoes

This is indicated by the fact that the entire western face of the rock was decorated with brightly coloured ornaments and more than 500 pictures of women.

18 years after seizing power, Kassapa committed suicide during the course of a battle in the open countryside with his half brother Moggalana, the legitimate successor to the throne. After Kassapa's death Sigiriya was handed over to Buddhist monks.

Today, some remnants of the ornaments are still visible on parts of the rocks.

In 1967, a religious fanatic attempted and partially succeeded in destroying the remaining "Cloud Damsels", which are protected under a rock overhang. As a result, only 18 of these wonderful frescoes are still left.


On the way to the plateau

The path to the citadel leads over and through rocks and up 450 steps to the "Gallery". From a winding staircase you can reach the "Cloud Damsels".

Follow the "Gallery" with the "Mirror Wall" to the left and you will come to the "lion's Gate" which is half-way up the plateau.



View from the plateau

Only the paws of the lion are still there, but originally it was a sitting lion whose paws you had to pass through to reach the citadel.

To climb up to the peak of the rock, you first have to pass over stone steps, then iron steps and iron sheets embedded in the rock.

A rail offers protection against tumbling off the top; however, this part of the rock is only recommended for those who have a good head for heights.

The reward for your efforts is a breathtaking view from the top.





City map von Sigiriya

City map von Sigiriya

Citadel of Sigiriya

Citadel of Sigiriya