Sigiriya History

Archeological excavations have proven that Sigiriya and its surrounding territories were inhabited for more than 4000 years.

Since the 3rd century BC, Sigiriya was used as a monastery, and after eight centuries, it was turned into a royal palace.

The construction and early history of the palace and fortress of Sigiriya are connected with several tragic events in the relationship between two royal brothers – Kasyapa and Moggallana. King Kasyapa (477-495 AD) illegally took the throne.

The legal heir to the throne, Maggallana, was forced to escape to India. Fearing an attack by his brother Kasyapa, he moved the capital from Anuradhapura to the central parts of Sri Lanka. He constructed a royal palace on a high rock to ensure the proper heir would not invade it to the throne, Maggallana.

The palace – Sigiriya was constructed using the most advanced technologies of the time and was richly decorated with colorful frescos. After Kasyapa was killed in the battle with his brother’s army, the capital was moved back to Anuradhapura. Maggallana destroyed his brother’s palace, and Sigiriya became a Buddhist monastery again. Approximately a thousand years later – in the 14th century, it was also abandoned by monks.

In 1831 Europeans accidentally discovered Sigiriya. Jonathan Forbes, a major in the British army, discovered it on his way from Polonnaruwa, a central Sri Lankan city.

The site immediately attracted the attention of historians and archaeologists, but only in the 1980s did significant excavations occur here.

Archeologists discovered the 5th-century citadel, royal palace, gardens, parks, and 1500 years old frescoes on the western wall of the complex, some parts of which remained amazingly unaltered.

Sigiriya Tours

We recommend booking a tour in advance for a more pleasant experience to visit Sigiriya, Sri Lanka. Take a look at our guided tour and book safely. Enjoy your visit!

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