Galle Heritage Foundation- Laws and Regulations

1. Galle Heritage Foundation- Laws and Regulations


Galle Fort is a cultural site, the heritage of which goes back in time to several centuries.  There is recorded evidence of Galle Fort being an important international trading post, even before the advent of the Portuguese in 1505.  After arriving in Sri Lanka, the Portuguese spread their rule to most of the coastal areas of the island and this strategy was adopted by the Dutch too who followed the Portuguese.  Wherever they found Portuguese fortifications, they entrenched themselves and used them for defence purposes .  While the British took control of the entire country, the colonial powers who preceded them, limited their activities to selected coastal areas.  The presence of the Portuguese and the Dutch  is evidenced by the buildings leftover by them, carrying their unique architectural features in coastal outposts all round the island, such as Kalpitiya, Chilaw, Negombo, Colombo, Kalutara, Galle, Matara, Hambantota, Tangalle, Batticaloa, Trincomalee, Jaffna, Delft, Mannar and Elephant Pass.

Out of all these centers, Galle earns a special place due to the existence of buildings containing architectural features belonging to all three colonial powers, viz., the Portuguese, the Dutch and the British, in a good state of preservation, and because it continues to be a living heritage city, where the Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims, Malays and others, with a variety of cultural identities,  co-exist in harmony.

Due to these reasons,  Galle Fort was inscribed in the List of World Heritages by UNESCO in 1988 so that its outstanding universal value could be protected and preserved.

It is our duty and responsibility to protect and preserve the historic cultural value of this monument, dating back to nearly 500 years, and endow it to future generations.  To give practical effect to this responsibility, it is necessary to constantly create awareness among the people and  also to impose laws and regulations.  Such laws and regulations have been enacted not with the intention of placing difficulties on the people, but because it is the bounden duty of us all to protect our priceless cultural heritage.

When the tsunami waves struck the coast of Galle on 26th December 2004, thousands of lives were saved by the massive fortification which acted as a buffer.   However, it is most regrettable that some unscrupulous persons have established various dubious institutions and are selling the cherished cultural heritage of this site for money.

All this places immense responsibility on the Galle Heritage Foundation which is the dedicated institution, established by Act of Parliament No. 07 of 1994, to protect the outstanding universal value of this site.  It is our responsibility, not merely to conserve and protect the old buildings located within this site, but also to save it from the clutches of unscrupulous local and foreign cultural thieves.

Taking into consideration the above facts, the Board of Management of the Galle Heritage Foundation, with the approval of the Ministry of Cultural Affairs and National Heritage, took a  decision on 13.09.2005 to exercise the responsibility of granting permission and supervising  still and video photography of a commercial nature within the World Heritage site of Galle Fort.



  • If any person or institution wishes to obtain permission for still or video photography within Galle Fort, first permission should be obtained from the Department of Archaeology and the Galle Police.
  • Together with the above permission documents, an application should be obtained from the Galle Heritage Foundation, duly completed and returned.
  • The Board of Management of the Galle Heritage Foundation has determined the charges applicable according to the nature of photography. Once the completed  application is submitted to the Galle Heritage Foundation, the applicant will be informed of the  amount to be paid.  On payment of this sum, a receipt and permission document will be issued.
  • The applicants should ensure that the information provided by them in the applications are full and accurate, as the Galle Heritage Foundation takes the responsibility for the permits issued.




  1. Once permission is granted, the photography will be supervised by an authorized officer of the Galle Heritage Foundation.  This officer has to carry out the responsibilities of the Galle Heritage Foundation, and the permit holders should given him their fullest co-operation.
  2. If it is intended to photograph a building which has been declared as an archaeological monument, prior permission should be obtained from the relevant institutions.
  3. The permit holder should ensure that no harm of any nature will be done to any building, archaeological artefact, the rampart walls or the environment within the Galle Fort, in the course of executing photography.
  4. The permit holder should ensure that no harm of any nature will be done to any cultural, racial or religious traditions or identities, in the course of executing photography.
  5. The natural environment within Galle Fort should not be harmed in any way in the course of executing photography and the permit holder should ensure proper management and disposal of waste generated by them.
  6. The vehicles used for the transport of persons and equipment and material should not in any way damage the underground sewer system in Galle Fort, and the regulations and conditions pertaining to traffic management in Galle Fort should be adhered to.
  7. In using loudspeakers or other amplified sound equipment, there should not be any harmful impact on the old monument or on the residents of Galle Fort.
  8. If aerial photography is done, photography should be done from a height of not less than 500 meters from the top of the highest construction in Galle Fort.
  9. If photography is done on the beach, adjacent to the fort, no harm whatever should be caused to the rampart walls, the natural environment on the beach or sea and any marine life.
  10. The permit holder should ensure that no harm whatever is caused to the environment of the World Heritage Galle Fort or the beach and sea by the waste matter discharged or collected by any machinery or equipment used.
  11. No photography should be carried out or the Galle Harbour area or Navy Camp area or any other area, if such areas are declared as areas where photography is prohibited for security reasons.



  • If any of the above conditions are violated, legal action could be taken. If due to violation of any of these conditions, photography is stopped, the Galle Heritage Foundation will not be liable for any loss suffered by the permit holder.
  • Adhering to the above conditions will not exempt the permit holder’s liability in regard to any other laws and regulations which are in force.
  • After completion of photography, an edited copy of the photography should be submitted to the Galle Heritage Foundation. Also, if the photography is telecast or broadcast, specific mention should be made that photography has been done with the permission of the Galle Heritage Foundation and under conditions laid down by the Foundation.
  • The permit holder should also ensure that in displaying the final edited version, there should be no distortion to the photography of Galle Fort monument or environmental zone.


Serial No. Programme Minimum Charge (for a day) Charges for each additional day Supervision Charges  (per day)
01 Films (foreign) Rs.150000.00 Rs. 25000.00 Rs. 2000.00
02 Tele-dramas (foreign) Rs.100000.00 Rs. 10000.00 Rs. 2000.00
03 Documentaries (foreign) Rs.100000.00 Rs. 10000.00 Rs. 2000.00
04 Educational Programmes (foreign) Rs.100000.00 Rs. 10000.00 Rs. 2000.00
05 Commercials (foreign) Rs.150000.00 Rs. 25000.00 Rs. 2000.00
06 Still Photography (foreign) Rs.  10000.00 Rs.   5000.00 Rs. 2000.00
07 Films (local) Rs.  40000.00 Rs. 1000.00
08 Tele-dramas (local) Rs.  25000.00 Rs. 1000.00
09 Documentaries (local) Rs.  25000.00 Rs. 1000.00
10 Educational Programmes (local) Rs. 10000.00 Rs. 1000.00
11 Commercials (local) Rs. 50000.00 Rs. 1000.00
12 Still Photography (local) Rs.   5000.00 Rs. 1000.00
13 Musical Videos (local) Rs. 15000.00 Rs. 1000.00
14 Reality Shows (local) Rs. 25000.00 Rs. 1000.00



You are donating to : Galle Heritage Foundation

How much would you like to donate?
$10 $20 $30
Would you like to make regular donations? I would like to make donation(s)
How many times would you like this to recur? (including this payment) *
Name *
Last Name *
Email *
Additional Note