Inspired again by the astonishing Pinterest, I thought it better to publish again in this category. I had a few Sinhalese mates in the past, you maybe remember that I’m a retreated ship engineer, with plenty of contacts, and deeply involved in the human nature. Unfortunately, I learned mostly through my mistakes, but like anyone of you, I have been very young once. I remember in one of my former contracts, when I stayed for the first time in Piraeus, Greece, more than a few days, I had our ship’s cook as my guide. He wanted to go to Athens that evening for some more pleasurable encounters, but I lured him with some free beers, just to build the opportunity to ask him more about his native country. I have been to India a few times, but never to Sri Lanka.
He wasn’t very proud of his native place, he was a little bit afraid by the occasional revolutions taking place from time to time, events being usually accompanied by partisan bombing, killing and diverse personal revenges. Sri Lanka is a very remote place for any American or European, with beautiful landscapes and intelligent inhabitants.
I have saved the picture long time ago, so I forgot the exact origin, but I’m sure it’s in one of my Pinterest’s boards. I searched for it, but I found only slightly similar pics, not the same quality with this one.
My friend told me then, sitting on a terrace on Akti Miaouli, between Amstel sips, that even if his country is really beautiful, his desire is to marry an European girl or at worst, an Indian and leave it. They were at war then, a civil war that smeared Sri Lanka for thirty years and finally officially ended in 2009. Our story takes place some time in the mid nineties. Because he was born in Dambulla, in the Central Province, he praised the closest monument to his home, Sigiriya. What follows, is my researched story, not his, because he finally left for Athens. We were at less than twenty minutes of Acropolis, with any taxi.
Sigiriya is an ancient palace located in Matale District near town of Dambulla as I have mentioned above. The name refers to a site dominated by a massive column of rock nearly two hundred meters high. The site was selected by King Kasyapa (477 – 495 CE) for his new capital. He built his palace on the top of this rock and decorated its sides with colourful frescoes. On a small plateau about halfway up the side of this rock he built a gateway in the form of a lion. The Lion Rock as a name, came from this structure. The capital and the royal palace were abandoned after the king’s death. It was used as a Buddhist monastery until the 14th century. (cf. Wikipedia)
Sigiriya today is a World Heritage Site, listed to UNESCO, and it is considered one of the best preserved examples of ancient urban planning. It is also the most visited historic site in Sri Lanka.
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