Sigiriya, also known as Lion Rock, is an ancient rock fortress located in Sri Lanka. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. The rock rises 200 meters (660 feet) above the surrounding plain and is topped by the ruins of a palace and gardens.
The rock was first fortified by King Kashyapa I in the 5th century AD. He built his palace on top of the rock and decorated its sides with colorful frescoes. On a small plateau about halfway up the side of this rock, he built a gateway in the form of an enormous lion. The name of this place is derived from this structure; Sīnhāgiri, the Lion Rock (an etymology similar to Sinhapura, the Sanskrit name of Singapore, the Lion City).
The capital and the royal palace were abandoned after the king's death. It was used as a Buddhist monastery until the 14th century. Sigiriya today is a UNESCO-listed World Heritage Site. It is one of the best-preserved examples of ancient urban planning.