Sri Lanka’s seafaring tradition is a cornerstone of its history and culture, one that fostered its centuries-old trade in gems and spices throughout Asia, Arabia and the Far East.
Today, the thousand of cargo ships that call at Colombo port every year from around the world rely on GPS and satellite navigation to tell them exactly where they are as they approach their destination.
But back then, ships captains depended on rather less sophisticated navigational aids, including one that is now an iconic Colombo landmark—The Lighthouse.
Built in 1952 after the Old Colombo Lighthouse was decommissioned, it was opened by D.S. Senanayake, the first prime minister of newly independent Sri Lanka.
At its base is a battery of naval guns that are used to salute National Day, including two that were installed in 1952 to mark the visit of then Princess Elizabeth of Great Britain.