Sigiriya Rock - Summit


Ariel view of Sigiriya Summit

The magnificent Sky Palace on the summit of Sigiriya Rock was built by King Kasyapa 1600 years ago. It was the innermost sanctum and the geometrical center of the Sigiriya complex. Only the king, queen, and a small retinue of staff lived there. It is the earliest and best preserved palace complex in Sri Lanka.

The Sigiriya summit, over 200 meters above the surrounding plain, is in the form of an elliptical stepped plateau of about one and a half hectares, with a gradual slope along the long axis of the ellipse. This sloping contour is part natural and part man-made.

The entire summit was surrounded by a stout brick wall built to the very edge of the rock, the footings of which are still clearly visible today. This wall offered protection from high winds and monsoonal rain. Painted white like the rest of the rock, it looked to a person standing below as though it was an extension of the rock itself.

Given the susceptibility to high winds, the buildings were relatively squat, solidly built, single-story structures with low-profile roofs.

The Sky Palace was predominantly used during the hot dry season. Given its high elevation of nearly three hundred and sixty meters above sea-level, it would have been a cool and comforting place, away from flies and mosquitoes. During the wet monsoon season, from May to September, the lower Moated Palaces were most likely used.

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