Lion Rock of Sigiriya
This massive boulder, which rises almost 700 ft above ground, is an awe-inspiring sight visible from a great distance. At its summit, it has a flatter surface covering 9 acres where a magnificent palace complex once stood. Visited by millions every year, the ruins of this palace tell a story of its glorious past.
The image shows a view of the western part of the rock seen by visitors before they reach the entrance to climb the rock. The access to the rock fortress is through a flight of steps starting somewhere in the middle of the western side. The orange-colored strip at the bottom is the outer side of the famous Mirror Wall. The flight of steps runs through a narrow corridor between the rock and the Mirror Wall. The flight of steps beyond the Mirror Wall leads to the Lion’s Paw Terrace, where visitors gather for the final ascent to the summit.
At the entrance to the gateway to the final ascent, the two giant lion’s paws flank the initial part of the staircase. The rest of the flight of steps, made of metal, is built against the northern end of the rock.
Experts believe that the sculpture of a lion’s face also existed above these paws, making the rock resemble a crouching lion. The Lion Rock owes its name to this resemblance.
Centered around Lion Rock is Sigiriya, a well-planned city with palaces, water gardens, moats, and ramparts. Because of this rock, it was initially known as Simha Giri (Simha means lion, and Giri means mountain). It became Sigiriya over time.
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