Chinese Gardens, Point de Galle.
Photographer: Fiebig, Frederick
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph by Frederick Fiebig from an album of 70 handcoloured salt prints, of gardens at Point de Galle in Sri Lanka (Ceylon). Galle, on the south-western coast of the island, has a natural harbour and is one of the most ancient settlements of Sri Lanka, a port from pre-Christian times. A trilingual inscription here (in Chinese, Tamil and Arabic) narrates that the great Chinese admiral Zheng He paid Galle a visit. Until the construction of the breakwaters in the development of Colombo's harbour in the 1870s, Galle was the main port of the island. It is protected by a promontory called the Rock or Galle Point. The Portuguese arrived in the early 16th century and built a small fort here, but it was after Galle was captured by the Dutch in 1640 that it achieved its greatest prosperity. The English replaced the Dutch in 1796 but made few changes to the town and today it is the surviving Dutch architecture of the 17th and 18th centuries which lends Galle its charm.