Galle Lighthouse – This is Sri Lanka’s oldest light station, dating back to 1848, but the original lighthouse built by the British is located about 100 metres (330 ft) from the current site; however, it was destroyed by fire in 1934. The existing 26.5-metre-high (87 ft) lighthouse was erected here in 1939.
The light station is within the walls of the ancient Galle Fort, a UNESCO world heritage site and well known tourist attraction. The lighthouse is strategically located at the southern end of the promontory, built approximately 6 metres above the road level on the ramparts, at what is known as the Point Utrecht Bastion, giving it full view of any ships entering Galle Harbour.
Galle Fort close to the island’s southernmost point, has the distinction of being the best-preserved sea fort in South Asia. A living heritage site- attraction is a superb blend of architecture, with fortifications that resemble those in the coastal areas of Portugal.
Galle Fort has an interesting history, being first established by the Portuguese then taken over by the Dutch before the British having a turn. It is now firmly Sri Lankan and this mixture of different influences makes for a very interesting destination.
Today, inside the Fort you will find that it exudes old-world charm. Within the ramparts and stonewalls of the old Galle Fort – which spreads over a 36-hectare peninsula — magnificent buildings remain. The narrow streets are dotted with Dutch colonial villas and there’s a welcome absence of vehicular traffic. There are several museums and antique shops that display curiosities from the island’s colonial era. The Fort also hosts some of the island’s most exclusive boutique-style accommodation in former villas restored to their colonial glory.
Galle Cricket Stadium is situated near the Galle fort and fringed on two sides by the Indian Ocean. It is considered to be one of the most picturesque cricket grounds in the world. Before being brought up to international cricket standards, it was known as ‘The Esplanade’, and is the home ground of the Galle Cricket Club.
This pavilion was a new addition to the stadium during the post-tsunami renovations. It is named after the Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapakse who gave the clearance for the reconstruction to begin at a stage when the future of the stadium had been uncertain.
With this we wind up for the day and headed towards the destination of the day – Unawatuna.
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