The ancient port of Trincomalee on the northeast coast of Sri Lanka has a perfect natural harbour, which has made the town a prize to be fought over by foreign powers for generations. The Danes first took the trophy in 1617 on behalf of the Dutch, but the Portuguese put up a fort and staked their claim a few years later. By the mid-17th century the port was Dutch again, until the British and French both had a turn at occupation in the late 18th century. During the Second World War the harbour was a strategic British naval base, and now is home to the Sri Lankan Navy. The beaches in the area, especially those north of Trincomalee at Nilaveli and Uppuveli, are broad, soft and white, lapped by warm gentle waters. Among the sights to visit is Fort Frederick, built by the Portuguese, and Wellington House, once home to the Duke of Wellington. The Tirukoneswaram Temple is an important modern Hindu shrine at Swami Rock.