Sri Lanka is an important milestone in the ancient coastal trade route. Being an island centered in the Indian Ocean, many ancient documents indicate that it had trade relations with a number of foreign countries since ancient times. Sri Lanka’s position as a trading center was further developed during the colonial period. As a result, lighthouses began to appear in coastal areas around the country. In the past, boats and ships sailed the seas at night, illuminated by these lighthouses. There are a total of 25 lighthouses in Sri Lanka. But so far only 14 of them are operational. Most of these were built during British rule.
Galle Fort Lighthouse is one of the oldest lighthouses in the nation. The Galle Lighthouse is located about 4 kilometers away from Galle’s city center and has been built on the ramparts, approximately 6 meters above the level of the road, on a high point known as Point Utrecht Bastion. The lighthouse, which is connected to the Galle Fort, sends messages and signals to ships and boats plying the seas around Galle. This lighthouse is managed by the Sri Lanka Ports Authority. Galle Lighthouse is known as the oldest light center in Sri Lanka. Records show that a lighthouse was set up at the Galle Fort during the Dutch rule. Then in 1848, a lighthouse was built during British rule. According to reports, the ancient lighthouse was destroyed by fire.
The present lighthouse was created in 1939 by Kenneth De Kretser, Director General of The Government Factory, a British engineer. The lighthouse is about 26 meters high and is made of cast iron with a white circular tower. Lighting equipment is installed in the upper part of this 5 story lighthouse. The lighthouse emits two streams of light every 15 seconds during the night. If you rotate 360 degrees from the top of the lighthouse, you can see a distance of 47 meters. At that distance, not only the Galle Fort, the capital city of Galle, but also the sea area near the Bonavista Coral Reef are clearly visible. Square windows can be seen on each floor of the lighthouse.
Climbing to the top of the lighthouse is no easy task. There is no staircase in this lighthouse. You have to climb 26 meters from the ladder. There are 5 ladders in 5 sections. At the top of the lighthouse, you can see the direction of the wind and the equipment. Today, the lighting inside the Galle Lighthouse is fully automated and the lighthouse keeper only needs to ensure its maintenance.