Vatadages were uniquely Sri Lankan Buddhist constructions built to protect the many small stupas that are central to the history of Polonnarua and its sacred cultural heritage.
The Medirigiriya Vatadage is one of only ten now remaining in Sri Lanka. Built on a small rock, the entrance is through a massive stone frame 9ft 9in tall at the bottom of 27 stone steps.
These lead up to a resting area and a further four steps to the stupa house, around which is a 3ft (1m) stone wall, which features four beautifully carved seated Buddhas.
The site wiscovered in 1897 in the middle of a thick jungle, and restoration work was finally completed in 1945. It is widely regarded as one of the best examples of ancient stone craftsmanship in Sri Lanka.