The famous Galle Fort is the crowning jewel of Sri Lanka’s Colonial past. Standing proudly along Sri Lanka’s southern coast, the Fort’s construction began under the Portuguese reign in 16th century and subsequently extended under Dutch rule a century later. A UNESCO World Heritage site, wide-spread publicity from sources including Cvisit has made Galle Fort a popular tourist destination. Although the use of the European-style Galle Fort has changed over the centuries, the mini-town nestled within has modern cafes and shops amidst the Fort’s historic buildings.
The 130 acre, hexagon-shaped Galle Fort cuts an imposing picture along Sri Lanka’s southern belt with its thick, stone walls protecting the Fort’s inhabitants from the untamed Tsunami waves that struck in 2004. Galle Fort was, in its prime, the administrative and commercial hub of Southern Sri Lanka housing government offices, warehouses, businesses, residential quarters and Courthouse. Today, new cafes, souvenir shops and quaint Galle Hotels line the narrow alleys within the Fort. With the Bay of Galle being a thriving port in Colonial times, the Fort’s two museums are dedicated to exhibits of maritime artefacts and other period exhibits.
Fourteen bastians surround the Fort with the oldest being the Swart bastion built by the Portuguese on a rocky outcrop. Along the southern-most boundary sits the British Lighthouse while to the east lies the 19th century Meeran Jumma Mosque which was built by Arab merchants. The Dutch influence is marked on every building inside the Fort while the entrance nearest the harbour has the symbol of the British monarch stamped on the outer wall while the inner wall bears the symbol of the Dutch VOC. The highlight of Dutch influence in Galle is the All Saints and Dutch Reformed churches, the latter being the oldest Protestant church in Sri Lanka with its garden lined with 17th century Dutch gravestones and church walls adorned with Dutch family crests. The Fort’s Clock tower, Library, Court Complex and Dutch hospital clearly show the Dutch influence while the Dutch Governor’s residence is now the luxurious Amangalla Hotel.
Thanuja Silva is a travel writer who writes under the pen name Auburn Silver. She has a passion for fashion and a deep interest in admiring new and exotic attractions around the world. Google+