Put on your artist's cap before paying a visit to Sigiriya or "Lion's Rock". Once referred to as "the largest picture gallery in the world" by an early explorer, visiting here may bring out your "inner artist" and compel you to paint this ancient Sri Lankan fortress and palace ruin, which is literally carved out of an enormous rock and is 180 meters (590 ft) high. Sigiriya may have been inhabited since prehistoric times, and from the 5th to 14th centuries devotes of Buddha have used it as a refuge and mountain monastery. Surrounding the great rock is an elaborate garden, considered one of the oldest landscaped gardens in the world. Take a pathway halfway up the rock to a sheltered gallery of frescoes of lovely damsels on the sheer face, some of which are still in remarkably good condition. Beyond the gallery is a protected wall that contains actual graffiti from over 1000 years ago. The pathway emerges to a gigantic brick lion's paw from which the rock derives its name. The summit gives you magnificent views of the countryside and contains the foundations of ancient buildings. All-in-all, it's a place of peace and tranquility that is nearly as stunning today as it must have been a thousand years ago. If you haven't brought along your easel, make sure to take lots of pictures!
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- Location: Sigiriya, Sri Lanka