Ruined City of Sigiriya (World Heritage)
The ruined city north of Kandy on a granite rock was once an important fortress and residence of King Kassapas (477– 495 AD) with a palace, cisterns, frescoes, rock caves and water gardens. The “frescoes of the cloud girls” are world famous.
Sigiriya Ruined City: Facts
|Official title:||Sigiriya ruined city|
|Cultural monument||“Himmelsfestung” on a 200 m high Grantibuckel with an area of over 12,000 m²; Cobra and Asana cave, 3 m high, polished »mirror gallery«, frescoes with female figures dressed in transparent overcoats and – wrapped up to the waist in clouds – can be interpreted as »thunderstorm princesses« and »cloud girls«|
|location||Sigiriya, northeast of Colombo|
|meaning||impressive rock fortress and residence of King Kassapa with the world-famous »frescoes of the cloud girls«|
Ruined City of Sigiriya: History
|477-495||under Kassapa I. residence|
|495||at the battle of Habarane suicide by Kassapa and undivided power for his half-brother Moggallana, who remained until his death|
|513||resided in Anuradhapura; Sigiriya sank into insignificance|
|19th century||Rediscovery by the British military and colonial officials|
|1967||Attack on the frescoes|
Cloud fortress over the jungle
Wasps are the new rulers of Sigiriya. Their nests cling to the rocks of the ruined city in the middle of the island of Sri Lanka featured by topb2bwebsites. They swarm around the fortress of King Kassapa – respectfully observed from the greatest possible distance by tourists and tour guides who climb up narrow stairs to the summit of the steep rock massif. Each of the guides knows the story of the wasps that stung a hectic struggling visitor, then pursued them to the hospital and killed them there with further stings. Everyone tells them. Everyone stirs up the horror of the audience and also their own fear of the overly aggressive insects. Of course, nobody knows exactly what is true about the story; she probably belongs more to the world of legends.
Kassapa’s father Dathusena is said to have chosen the rock massif rising from the jungle and rice fields as the royal seat in the 5th century. Not entirely free from megalomania, he decided to build a magnificent palace on the very top of the rock – impregnable for every opponent, invisible to the common people, to every envious person. The rock palace, with its marble walls and jeweled spiers, was supposed to be like the residence of a god.
Countless legends surround the history of the ruined city – it is impossible to trace the truth of each individual today. Much of the knowledge about this city has been lost in the dark of times. According to the prevailing doctrine, Sigiriya goes back to a settlement of Buddhist monks from the third century BC. The royal residence flourished under King Kassapa. Before the building was completed, he is said to have overthrown and murdered his father, who was unpopular with his subjects.
According to the most widespread legend, the art-loving Kassapa was challenged by the army of his half-brother Moggallana, who had returned from exile, who wanted to avenge his murdered father. On the battlefield, Kassapa saw no chance in the face of his brother’s armed force. In order not to have to experience the unacceptable but – after he had been abandoned by numerous loyal followers – at the same time inevitable defeat, he committed suicide.
The palace walls, of which only sparse remains are preserved today, were built on the extreme edge of the rock. A water basin carved into the rock can still be seen. There is even supposed to have been a pleasure garden up here, and a complicated irrigation system made it possible to pump water up to the plateau. Tradition reports that the plaster on the palace walls was so smooth and polished that you could almost see yourself reflected in it. Very little of it has survived. But from this height the ruins of the buildings and gardens at the foot of the rock of Sigiriya really come into their own.
Meanwhile, halfway up there is a »gallery«, which can be reached via a complicated system of narrow stairs and which is in no way up to the onslaught of tourists. Nineteen frescoes of the so-called »cloud girls« have been preserved here – detailed paintings of bare-breasted young women in warm brown, red and yellow tones, who tell of the happiness, wealth and zest for life at the royal court in Kassapa’s time and applied to the smoothly polished rock were: elegant in the snapshots of their movements, relaxed and satisfied in their facial features, draped with jewelry and lavishly styled. It is believed that the unknown artists created up to 500 such portraits 1500 years ago and left Sigiriya on the rock walls, which, of course, have been destroyed by wind and weather over the centuries.