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The Lighthouse, Galle

The Lighthouse, Galle

Photographer: Unknown

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1865

Shelfmark: Photo 210/1(50)

Item number: 210150

Genre: Photograph

Photograph taken in the 1860s by an unknown photographer of the lighthouse at Galle in Sri Lanka. 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. It is protected by a promontory called the Rock or Galle Point. Galle was the main port of the island even though entrance to its harbour was dangerous because of submerged rocks and reefs, until supplanted in the 1870s after the construction of breakwaters in the development of Colombo's harbour. 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. The lighthouse was built in 1840 and burnt down in 1936.

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