Galle Fort; a cultural edifice, built during the colonial era of Ceylon, situated on a rocky cliff belonging equally to sea as it does to land in the furthest south eastern corner of the island, remains an architectural, archaeological and historical monument. Due to its strategic location en route connecting China and ancient Arabia, or the Silk Route, the Galle harbour which is one of world’s few natural harbours has been a hot spot among traders back in the day. Its earliest historical evidence as a major trade centre of Asia dates back to Ptolemy’s map and was accustomed to foreign invasions from time to time.
Galle fort in its infant stages, built from palm trees and mud was constructed in 1588 by the Portuguese, later to be extensively fortified in 1649 by the Dutch to be followed by the British. Each has their distinct style of architecture and has left their marks scattered inside the whole of the fort. Above the old gate is inscribed the British coat of arms while entering further into the fort, dates 1668 are the letters VOC (Verenigde Oostindindische Compagnie) meaning Dutch East India Company. There are further carvings and inscriptions along the rampart walls and the low houses built in Dutch style bear evidence to the extensive influence the colonizers had on the locals.
The fort houses a few government buildings as well as private residence, some still owned by Dutch nationals. The road way has been most ingeniously built, parallel to the rampart walls in perfect alignment. Many of the buildings are now heritage sites preserved by the Archaeological Department of Sri Lanka. One of the most renowned buildings is the New Oriental Hotel, now the elite Amangalla Resort Hotel. Originally the house of the Dutch Governor, built in 1684 is an important heritage monument.
For those visiting the Island, Sri Lanka Travel would not be complete without a visit to the Galle Fort and the down south beaches. Sri Lanka car rental is popular among tourists since you can pop into your own vehicle and drive for as long as you like. Malkey Rent A Car is one such organization that provides comfortable and reliable cars for a reasonable price.