The magnificent Sigiriya Lion Rock fortress in the Sri Lanka’s central highlands has been named as one of the most beautiful places in Asia by Condé Nast Traveller.

One of the most dramatic sites in this Paradise teardrop island, the top contains ruins of an ancient palace complex and gardens built during the reign of King Kasyapa (477AD – 495 AD).

It is one of Sri Lanka’s eight UNESCO World Heritage sites, and hugely popular among tourists from around the world who negotiate the steep 200-meter rock face, whose sides are so steep that at some points the top overhangs the base.

About half way to the top, there is a giant pair of lions paws which is in fact are the remains of a huge head of a lion whose open mouth served as the entrance to the royal palace.

Surrounding the palace complex are the ruins of a garden complex consisting of two moats and various pools, some with water fountains still functioning after 1500 years.

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