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Galle is beautiful city seeped in centuries of history. The remains of this history can still be seen everywhere from its cobblestoned streets, to the historic monuments, to the many still functional structures such as the Galle Lighthouse.
The Galle Lighthouse, or Pointe de Galle Light as it was also known, was the very first light station to be built in Sri Lanka. Dating back to 1848; the lighthouse was built by the British to ensure the safe arrival of their ships at the Galle harbour. This original structure stood 24.5 m tall (80 feet) and was located at a site approximately 100 feet from the current lighthouse. Its light was made with a prism lens of glass, which floated in a bath of mercury (to reduce friction); and was powered by a weight driven machine.This lighthouse was destroyed in 1934.
The current lighthouse structure was built in 1939; erected within the walls of the ancient Galle Fort with a height of 26.5m (87 feet). The lightstation stands at a strategic location at the southern end of the promontory; built approximately 6m above the road level on the ramparts of the Fort, at a place known as the Point Utrecht Bastion . This affords it an undisturbed view across the seascape; and allowing any incoming ships to see its light.
The Galle Lighthouse is currently operated and managed by the Sri Lanka Ports Authority. The lights work through a computerized system which allows the foremost light to switch on every night and switch off in the morning. Visitors are not allowed to climb the lighthouse.