Sigiriya Rock, Central Province, Sri Lanka
© Jeremy Woodhouse/Getty Image
Rock of ages. The Lion Rock of Sri Lanka
We’re here at Sigiriya, or Lion Rock, in Sri Lanka, for the South Asian nation’s Independence Day, celebrated on 4 February. Sigiriya towers 600ft off the ground, jutting dramatically out of this island country and serving as a spectacular monument to the past. King Kashyapa, who ruled Sri Lanka from 473 to 495 CE, made this the site of his new capital. He ordered that his palace be constructed on top of the rock. About halfway up, he had a large gateway carved into the side in the shape of a lion (hence the name). His fortress was abandoned when he died and the site later served as a monastery. These days it’s a tourist attraction and a Unesco World Heritage Site.