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Sri Lanka

The Galle lighthouse is the oldest lighthouse in Sri Lanka, first built in 1848; it lies at the entrance to Galle harbor on southwestern coast of Sri Lanka, about 120 km south of Colombo. The lighthouse is situated within Galle Fort, first fortified by the Portuguese in 1588 and then extensively improved upon by the Dutch in the 17th and 18th centuries. The current lighthouse is 26.5 m tall and was built in 1939 after the original lighthouse was destroyed by fire in 1934. Galle was a historically important port of call in the Indian Ocean trade being visited by the Islamic explorer Ibn Batuta, the Chinese admiral Zheng He, and where the Portuguese first landed in 1502. Today, the lighthouse and surrounding fort have been designated as a World Heritage Center.