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It’s not often that a single attraction has the ability to capture the curiosities of art lovers, history buffs, and adrenaline junkies, but this ancient fortress and UNESCO World Heritage Site towers more than 1,000 feet above sea level and does just that. Once an ancient capital nearly 1,600 years ago, this massive 600-foot-tall vertical granite peak has since functioned as a palace, a monastery, a royal residence and, now, as one of the most-visited attractions in its country.
You need to carve out at least two hours to ascend to the top and shaky spiral staircases and narrow paths may serve as the only barriers between climbers and the thick jungle below. But the reward is worth the climb — several fresco paintings are preserved on the western side of the rock, and a nearby “Mirror Wall” (once thought to have been used as a reflection tool by the ancient king) provides breathtaking contrast to the rugged beauty of the surrounding landscape.
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Sigiriya, Dambulla, Sri Lanka
Sigiriya (pronounced see-gi-ri-yə) ) is also called “Lion Rock” and towers 660 feet above the jungle below. The island nation of Sri Lanka (pronounced shiree-lan-ka) is located in southeast Asia near southeast India and the Maldives. Sri Lanka’s documented history spans 3,000 years with evidence of pre-historic human settlements dating back to at least 125,000 years. Its geographic location and deep harbors made it of great strategic importance from the time of the ancient Silk Road through to World War II. Celebrity Constellation visits Colombo, Sri Lanka on her Best of India and Sri Lanka cruise each January.