Our History

Mr. Channa Daswatte

Chartered Architect

The Galle Fort enjoys a special place among the fortifications built during the colonial era.  It is the largest Fort in Sri Lanka and it still remains in an excellent state of preservation.  It was first built during the Portuguese period, mainly as a defence fortification.  During the British period, Galle Fort developed to be one of the main centres of administration in the island.  It has also earned importance during a period of nearly five decades as a living fortified city, where people are living and carry out all their day to day activities.

In 1971 Galle Fort earned further recognition when it was declared by the Department of Archaeology as a protected archaeological monument.

Due to its unique nature, containing a mix of architectural features belonging to both European as well as Oriental styles, making it a monument of outstanding universal value, the Sri Lankan Government made an application to UNESCO to inscribe it in the list of World Heritage Sites, in 1986.  Accordingly, the Galle Fort was inscribed by UNESCO in the list of World Heritages in 1988, under criterion No. 4 pertaining to World Cultural Heritages.

Galle Fort also functioned as Ward No. 1 of the Galle Municipality and therefore comes under the purview of the Galle Municipal Council for local administrative purposes. There are also a number of other institutions which are directly or indirectly involved in the management of Galle Fort as a World Heritage Site.  Some of the more important among them are listed below: –

  • The Department of Archaeology
  • The Urban Development Authority
  • The Coast Conservation Department
  • The Divisional Secretariat, Galle Four Gravets
  • The Central Cultural Fund

Due to this reason, there arose the need to properly co-ordinate the activities of all these different institutions, to ensure proper and efficient management and conservation of the site.  For this purpose, initially a Committee named the Galle Heritage Conservation Committee was established under the chairmanship of Cabinet Minister Hon. Rupa Karunatilleka.  The main responsibility of this Committee was to co-ordinate the activities of all these institutions to ensure proper management of the site.  This Committee also embarked on various fund-raising events, even motor races.

A significant event which followed was the establishment of the Galle Heritage Foundation by Act of Parliament No. 07 of 1994, which replaced the Committee.  The declared objectives of the Galle Heritage Foundation were to promote, conserve, protect and develop Galle Fort and its historic hinterland as a historic city centre and an area of archaeological importance.

A Board of Management, comprising 26 members, is responsible for the administration, management and control of the Galle Heritage Foundation.

The Chairmen of the Galle Heritage Foundation so far: –

Serial No Name Year/date of Appointment Year/date of termination
01 Hon. Neville Kanakaratna, Governor of the Southern Province 1994 2000
02 Hon. Richard Pathirana, Minister of Education and Higher Education 2000 2002
03 Mr. Rienzie Wijetilleka, former Chairman of the Hatton National Bank 2002 2003
04 Hon. Wajira Abeywardena, Minister of Public Administration 2003 2004
05 Hon. G.H. Ajith Kumara, Member of Parliament 2004 2007
06 Mr. Parakrama Dahanayake,Member of the Galle Municipal Council 2007 2015
07 Mr. Ramya Siriwansa, Retired District Secretary 19.02.2015 29.02.2016
08 Mr. Channa Menaka Gehan Daswatte, Chartered Architect 07.04.2016 26.10.2018
09 Mr. Parakrama Dahanayake, Member of the Galle Municipal Council 07.12.2018 2018.12.26
10 Mr. Channa Menaka Gehan Daswatte, Chartered Architect 2019.03.01 Up to Now

The Executive Officers/Directors who have served in the Galle Heritage Foundation so far: –

Serial No Name Date of Appointment Date of Termination
01 Mr. P. Hewawasam, former Government Agent, Galle 15.12.2001 01.04.2004
02 Mr. P. Wijeratna, former Additional Government Agent, Galle 28.06.2004 31.12.2005
03 Mr. S.O.N. de Silva, former Regional Manager, Bank of Ceylon 12.01.2006 28.02.2007
04 Mr. H.L. Gunawardena, former Divisional Secretary, Galle Four Gravets 11.04.2007 20.04.2018
05 D.K.S. Jayalakshmi , Divisional Secretary,Baddegama Four Gravets    

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