Sigiriya Rock Fortress in Sri Lanka (aka Lion Rock) is the #1 attraction in the country.
In this episode Mike features this popular tourist known as the 8th wonder of the world.
It's also one of eight UNESCO World Heritage sites in Sri Lanka.
Sigiriya is truly a remarkable place, so I hope you enjoy this video.
Located in a rural part of the country Sigiriya was built around the 3rd century B.C. and was used as a monastery for 800 years.
By the fifth century Sigiriua became a royal palace.
This national monument is essentially broken up into two parts, the massive royal gardens at the base, and the royal palace at the top of the monolithic rock.
In order to reach the top, it requires a semi arduous hike up some 1200 plus steps, which will take you 45 minutes to an hour to climb (allocate at least 3 hours to climb and explore).
It’s best to do it early in the morning to avoid the crowds and the heat of the day.
Sigiriya is considered an engineering marvel due to the advanced skills required to construct the fortress from sheer rock.
The terraced gardens are formed from the natural hill at the base of the Sigiriya rock.
A series of terraces rises from the pathways of the boulder garden to the staircases on the rock.
These have been created by the construction of brick walls, and are situated in semi concentric way around the rock.
Lion Rock (the English translation for Sigiriya), towers more than 600 feet from the valley below and is 1144 feet above sea level. You can see here how it gets its name Lion Rock with these two huge paws at the gate of the fortress.
Apparently there used to be a lion head at one point, but sheered off by erosion over time.
The gardens are divided into water gardens, terraced and boulder gardens.
The subsurface has a complex hydraulic systems used during ancient times that are still functional today.
During the rainy season, the water channels get filled up and the water is then efficiently circulated throughout the entire fortress; a system considered too advanced for its period, so it begs the question where this technology came from. Sigiriya is a massive compound to explore, around every bend is something new to see, including an area where a massive wall was covered in elaborate frescos, unfortunately only a few survive today.