Sigiriya, the 'Lion Rock'
The spectacular rock fortress of Sigiriya, the 'Lion Rock', is one of Sri Lanka's most recognisable attractions, a natural fortress rising abruptly some 200 metres above the plains and visible for miles around. Ascend a metal spiral staircase from the foot of the rock to see the delightful frescoes depicting beautiful women, usually known as the 'Sigiriya damsels' (below right). After viewing the frescoes there is the option for the stout-hearted of continuing to the summit of the fortress via the narrow stairway clinging to the rock's sheer face (below left). Little remains of King Kasyapa's 5th century palace that once graced the summit, but the view over the surrounding countryside is magnificent.