Sigiriya which means Lion’s rock, is an ancient fortress made of rock in the Matale district of Sri Lanka. The fortress is surrounded by the remains of an extensive network of gardens and other structures.
The place is part of the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites and is preserved due to its significance in illustrating architecture and culture of the civilization during the time it was built.
The fortress was built around the time of King Kassapa I, between AD477-AD495. For its age, it still features the creativity of its builders by showing that the palace could withstand the test of time.
The fortress was meticulously designed and built. The site plan allowed the use of the natural geometrical forms of its surroundings to be integrated in symmetric and asymmetric design utilized by the builders.
The fortress has some of the first landscaped gardens in the world of that time. There are three basic types of gardens in the surrounding area which are the water gardens, the boulder gardens, and the terraced gardens.
The water gardens contain three principal gardens. The first garden is an island that is connected to the main precinct by four causeways. Each causeway has a gateway connected at its head. The second garden contains two long deep pools. The third garden can be found at a higher place than the other two. It contains an octagonal pool with a podium on the corner.
The boulder gardens contain boulders that line a pathway. These boulders were used as building materials or foundation of a structure perched on top of the boulders. One such structure is the audience hall of the king.
The terraced gardens can be found on a hill at the base of the Sigiriya rock. It was formed on the side of the hill through a series of terraces.