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Galle Fort

Galle Fort

The Galle Harbour had been a prominent entry point into Sri Lanka for traders, sailors and explorers for centuries and it was the Portuguese in 1589 who built a small Fort. Once the port was taken over by the Dutch in 1640, the fortifications were extended to what we see today and housed a large number of families as well as administrative buildings and warehouses. The Fort was further modified by the British when they took over from the Dutch in 1796 soon after which Colombo became the main commercial hub and the trading in the Galle harbor began to wane.

The once sleepy Galle Fort is now a vibrant and bustling area with a distinctively Mediterranean feel to it with excellent examples of colonial architecture and well preserved fortifications. You can spend the morning or afternoon exploring this UNESCO World Heritage Site taking a leisurely stroll along the Ramparts with its panoramic views. You can explore its narrow streets and laneways bustling with jewelry shops, numerous cafes, restaurants and luxurious villas. The Main Gate built by the British in the 19th century and the old gate which is inscribed with the Dutch East India Company’s coat of arms, the18th century built Clock Tower, Meeran Jumma Mosque and the nearby Lighthouse, the Anglican All Saints Church and the Dutch-reformed Church are some of the key sites we will visit. For those who have more time to explore the region, then a visit to the National Maritime Architecture Museum is recommended. This was formerly a Dutch warehouse where ships’ provisions and valuable cargo were stored. The Galle National Museum which displays a collection of archaeological artifacts recovered from the south of the island.

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