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The Lion Rock

By Linda Tancs

One of Sri Lanka’s most popular attractions is Sigiriya, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Otherwise known as Lion Rock, the site in the Central Province boasts the ruins of an ancient stronghold from the 5th century atop a rock standing over 600 feet above the surrounding plain. It was built by King Kashyapa as a fortress against attacks from his brother, the rightful heir to their father’s throne. On a plateau halfway up the rock Kashyapa built a gateway in the form of a huge lion with a staircase emerging from the lion’s mouth, giving rise to the moniker “Lion Rock.” A series of stairs leads to the summit, a portion of which contains the remnants of the lion’s paws and the first stairs.

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