S. M. Owens posted a photo:
Sri Lanka: Colombo, The Old Lighthouse
I took this photo in March 1983, on my first visit to Sri Lanka. I may even have taken it on the day I arrived in the country, certainly on the first occasion I went into Colombo. This was before all the troubles began, and on every occasion I’ve been to the city since, the area beyond the lighthouse has been closed due to security concerns. This is because the Presidential Palace is located here – it’s the white building on the left, after the lighthouse, mostly hidden from view by the trees. On the right, after the fortress-like HSBC, is the GPO.
The white building, on the corner of Chatham Street, containing the Nanking Hotel, has long-since been demolished. I once ate at the Nanking, and recall ploughing my way through a plate of fried rice. Then, it was no longer really a Chinese restaurant – in name only; although even today, miraculously, there are still a couple of Chinese owned textile businesses on Chatham Street.
Lots of other changes have taken place in the vicinity; many were done in an attempt to improve security. During the conflict, this area was a prime target of the Tamil Tigers, and in 1996, there was a devastating bomb blast outside the Central Bank, on a nearby street; effectively, closing down this part of town.
But this is just a photo of the Lighthouse on Chatham Street, in the heart of Colombo. Despite the fact that it is no longer in use, having lost its sea view, it remains a beacon of hope; it stands tall and immovable, and talismanic.
Photo and text:
© S. Owens
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