Aug 24th, 2009 - Today I drove to Sigiriya, a large rock (hardened magma from an extinct volcano) with the ruins of an ancient palace (or is it a monastery?) situated atop its flat surface. The walk to the rock takes you across a moat and a series of ancient gardens. At the base you must begin a semi-arduous climb up a series of metal staircases. The path leads through a small cave containing some well preserved ancient fresco paintings.
The 1.6 hectares at the summit once contained a series of buildings, of which only the foundations remain today. Although touted by the locals (and Wikipedia for that matter) as an ancient palace/fortress recent scholarship points in the direction of a monastery, not a royal residence. When you visit everything is labeled as the former, crediting the 'palace' construction to King Kassapa back in the 5th century AD. Nothing like an archeological hissy spat to get the juices flowing. I’d be lying if I said the uncertainty has not kept me up nights.