Galle is the cultural heart of Sri Lanka’s South and is home to some of the island’s most iconic structures. Chief among these is the impressive Galle Lighthouse which towers over the coastal town. Originally built by the British in the early 19th century to steer ships safely to shore, the lighthouse is now one of the region’s premier attractions.
Once the Dutch established their rule over Sri Lanka’s maritime provinces, they began to construct a structure to help establish their government. In this case, Galle already had a few constructs that were created by the Portuguese. As such, the new colonial overlords of the coast began to improve upon these. The Galle Fort was one such construction. This practice continued when the British took control and they were the first note that Galle could really use a lighthouse. As such, in 1848 a massive iron lighthouse which rose to a height of 24.4m was erected. This structure was destroyed by a fire in the early 20th century and a new lighthouse was built on-site a few years late. It is this lighthouse that continues to operate even today – which consequently makes it Sri Lanka’s oldest light station.
This light station is housed within the famous Galle Fort. The site as a whole is considered to be a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the best-preserved examples of Colonial Era architecture found in the entirety of South Asia. Simply put, if you’re touring through Galle you simply must make a visit to the Galle Fort. And if you visit the Fort, you must surely visit the Galle Lighthouse!
In many ways, a visit to the lighthouse is the perfect way to end your excursions at the Fort. After all, if you get your timing right, you’ll be able to peer across the endless expanse of the Indian Ocean as the oceanic sunset begins to take shape.