Chichen Itza
Gebel Berkal

World Heritage Site

for World Heritage Travellers



The Ancient City of Sigiriya holds the ruins of a former Sinhalese capital, including a rock fortress and palace.

At the end of the 5th century, this enormous complex was constructed by Prince Kasyapa. Being in fear of an invasion, he tried to make it as impenetrable as possible.

The site is also known as Lions Rock. At the level below the top, two very big lions claws give way to the final and most important stage of the complex, the palace. According to old descriptions, in the past you had to walk through the wide-open mouth of a lion to get there.

Halfway on Sigiriya-rock, you can see very special mural paintings. They are non-religious representations of women, of which some have been preserved very well. Some sources even say that the whole western face of the rock used to be covered with these paintings (of 500 women).

Map of Sigiriya


  • Cultural

Visit August 1996

The site in total is quite an experience. First you have to climb a number of stairs. You walk past the paintings of the women, an awesome sight in itself. Then you reach a platform where you can take a rest before the real hard work starts: between the claws of a lion an iron ladder reaches steeply upwards along the rock.

August 1996

Finally, on top of the rock, you see the site where the palace of the Prince used to stand (now only the ruins are left).

August 1996

Community Reviews

Martina Ruckova 27-Feb-18

Sigiriya by Martina Ruckova

We travelled to Sigiryia from Dambulla by our rental car, it's an easy ride of about an hour. You can get inside the site by car, the parking spot is by the museum. The ticket price was equivalent of 30 US dollars per person, to be paid in local currency. You get a ticket with three tear off parts representing three checkpoints. It's a lovely walk towards the rock amongst the ruins, the site is well signposted with English explanations. The gallery of the frescoes is amazing and was my favourite part of the whole site. I had to admire the waspish waists and the perky breasts of the depicted women. On a more serious note, I highly recommend leaning closer and appreciating the amount of detail that went into the paintings. 

And then there's the whole large citadel on the rock itself, which you enter via staircase flanked by Lion's paws on each side. The views are wonderful and the whole area surrounding the WHS is green and tranquil. It's quite a steep and narrow staircase, so watch your step and don't wear flip flops as many locals do and then have them fall off. It's pretty hot there all year around, so prepare for sweat, wear sunscreen and have enough water.

Michael Turtle Australia 23-Jan-16

Sigiriya by Michael Turtle

I really love this site. It's such a unique place and the story behind it is fascinating (a king going into hiding after he kills his father and steals the throne from his brother).

But there's also a bit of an adventure to seeing Sigiriya. You can to climb up the different levels and that gives you a really close connection to the rock itself. The details along the way are really interesting and then the views and the broad picture from the top are wonderful.

One of the highlights of a heritage trip to Sri Lanka.

Read more from Michael Turtle here.

gconeyhiden, USA 29-Oct-12

As of Jan. 2012 the Cultural Triangle Pass which cost $50.00 U.S. and was good for The World Heritage Sites was discontinued leaving the individual sites on per site ticket basis. Sigiriya admission is $30.00 If you chose to leave by the admission gate for rest spell at the air conditioned museum they will not let you re-enter. The ticket says good for one day but only if you make it good. All the food and beverage stalls are located at the parking area so if your going to spend all day here and want food do not exit the admission gate. Sigiriya is an interesting site although its mostly just ruins around and on top of a hugh rock. Giant lion's claws greet the visitor half way up. The awesome head of this lion grand strairway entrance now is long gone. Before you get to this site you are funneled past the well preserved wall paintings of buxom maidens still in full color. This is a sight to see considering their skillful handling and preservation. People who are afraid of heights may not be crazy about going to the top. The steel constructed stairway in the rock is safe enough and well maintained and the views from the top are worth the effort. Wild elephants sometimes frequent the circle road area around the rock and Languar monkeys also live in the forest around the rock.

Rob Wilson UK 16-Jul-08

A magnificent place! The frescos are just wonderful.

Johan en Ans Schouten, The Netherlands 23-Jun-08

We've been visiting (group of 20 people) Sri Lanka for 3 weeks in December 2007! An absolutely beautiful country with great places to visit. Unfortunately we were often the only tourists at those fantastic heritage places. People stay away because they are afraid of the Tamil war and to be honest there were many road blokkades on our trip to find. We haven't felt in danger though, not for one minute! Our guide kept in daily contact with his office so we were in perfect safe hands. The Sigiriya rock took our breath away. It was raining cats and dogs that day which made the rock look very colourful. The view from the top was absolutely fantastic even it was hidden behind a curtain of rain! The history of the rock is fascinating.

Sri Lanka is a country with loads of heritage places and lots of different landscapes.

Janaka Priyalal, 17-Sep-06

It's a GREAT place. Unbelievable, visit & BELIEVE...

Dominique Deschamps, France 09-Jun-06

Hello, i am curently gathering information about world heritage project SIRIGIYA. We may have some initiative to support the fundraising period with the internet.


lumbini, sri lanka

The 'frescoes' and the 'graffitti' on the mirror wall are a treat. Initially there have been about 500 frescoes of the sigiriya maidens. But unfortunately the numbers have been reduced to many reasons.

The climb up is a bit tedious, but don't miss it, you'll be rewarded

Gayan, srilanka

It's the best place to visit if you come down to srilanka.

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Community Rating

Community Rating 4.27. Based on 11 votes.

Site Info

Full name: Ancient City of Sigiriya

Unesco ID: 202

Inscribed: 1982

Type: Cultural

Criteria: 2   3   4  

Link: By Name By ID

Site History

  • 1982 - Inscribed 


The site has 1 locations.

  • Sigiriya


The site has 11 connections.



  • Inselbergs: Centred on the great Sigiriya rock, a massive monadnock or inselberg rising about 200 metres above the surrounding plain


Human Activity




129 community members have visited Sigiriya.