The muddy red clay trails leading into the park are quiet. It looks like the mid-day rain has kept people away. There are only a few obstacles to contend with here in Sigiriya this muddy afternoon. These include the slippery metal stairs, muddy trails and the small pest problem. Snake holes are everywhere, but signs do not warn park visitors about the local venomous cobra population. The hornets are the real issue. Visitors must stay extremely quiet while walking the trails. Loud noises and disruptive visitors, for that matter, agitate hornets.
The phrase ‘lost to the sands of time’ tends to conjure up thoughts of mighty empires that have faded away into the desert. Nisa, the first capital of the Parthians, is no different in the dusty hills a short distance outside of Ashgabat. The spectacular mountaintop setting on what is now the Turkmenistan/Iran border belies an eery silence of its literally lush past. Peaceful, yet one has to wonder if this is the fate of future realms as well.