Galle fort, was built first in 1588 by the Portuguese, then extensively fortified by the Dutch during the 17th century from 1649 onward. It is a historical, archaeological and architectural heritage monument, which even after more than 423 years maintains a polished appearance, due to extensive reconstruction work done by Archaeological Department of Sri Lanka.
The fort has a colourful history, and today has a multi-ethnic and multi-religious population.The Sri Lankan government and many Dutch people who still own some of the properties inside the fort are looking at making this one of the modern wonders of the world.The heritage value of the fort has been recognized by the UNESCO and the site has been inscribed as a cultural heritage UNESCO World Heritage Site under criteria iv, for its unique exposition of "an urban ensemble which illustrates the interaction of European architecture and South Asian traditions from the 16th to the 19th centuries.
Galle Fort is in Galle, which is located at the extreme southwest corner of the island, in the southwest coast of Sri Lanka, where the shoreline turns east towards Matara and Tangalle. The fort, like most of the forts in Sri Lanka, is built on a small rocky peninsula, belonging to the sea as much as to the land. As it exists today, it covers an area of 52 hectares (130 acres).There are many tourist attractions are situated in Galle
Church in Galle fort
A mosque in Galle fort
Rumassala - Jungle Beach
Highway A2 provides road links to Galle from Colombo (a distance of 113 kilometres (70 mi)) and the rest of the country along the west coast or from the east along the south coast. Since 2012 an expressway has linked Galle to Colombo. Rail links are also available to Colombo and Matara. Sea route is through the Galle Port at the Galle Harbour.
The view from the ramparts
Leyn Baan Street leads down to the seafront ramparts, where you’ll find the florid Meeran Jumma Mosque, at the heart of Galle’s Muslim quarter, and the town’s picturesque old lighthouse. From here, you can walk all the way around the town’s well-preserved old stone and coral ramparts, which offer breezy sea views on one side and picturesque panoramas of the red-tiled rooftops of Galle Fort on the other. It’s particularly popular towards dusk, when half the town seems to come here to admire the spectacular sunsets, play games of cricket, or smooch under umbrellas.
Some of the important heritage monuments in the fort are the Dutch Reformed Church, with its
historic belfry dated 1707 and cast in 1709, which rang every hour the old Dutch government house; the residence of the Commander; Great Warehouse near the Old Gate, built around 1669 to store spices and ship equipment (which now houses the National Maritime Museum); the Old Dutch Hospital; the Meera Mosque built in 1904; the Buddhist temple built at the site of Portuguese Roman Catholic church; the All Saints Anglican Church built in 1871; the 1882 Clock Tower and the 1939 Galle Lighthouse.
Groote Kerk (Dutch
The Groote Kerk (Dutch Reformed Church) was built in 1640. However, it was remodeled between 1752 and 1755. The church is paved with grave stones from the old Dutch cemetery. There is an old organ of 1760 vintage in the church where services are held and a pulpit made of calamander wood from Malaysia is used.
Most of the street names are a legacy from the colonial period, including Pedlar Street or ‘Moorse Kramerstraat’, the Moorish pedlar (or peddler) street, named after the Muslim moors who were retailers along with chettis; Lighthouse Street or ‘Zeeburgstraat’ or ‘Middelpuntstraat’ named after the lighthouse which was destroyed in a fire in 1936; Hospital Street, the location of the Dutch Hospital, the house of the Surgeon and the Medical Garden; Leyn Baan Street or ‘Leyenbahnstraat’, the Old Rope-Walk Street, where coir rope was made; Church Street, named after a church which was demolished in the 7th century and also the location of the Dutch Reformed Church and All Saints Church; Parawa Street, named after the Parawa migrants from South India who were fishermen and traders; and Chando Street named after the toddy tappers and Dutch Burghers who owned coconut gardens and small ark distilleries.
The breadfruit tree was introduced in Galle first by the Dutch; reputedly the oldest breadfruit tree in Sri Lanka can be found at Akersloot Bastion in Galle Fort.It is believed that the Dutch introduced breadfruit which is of ‘heaty’ nature hoping that would either kill them or make them sick. However, the Sri Lankans found a neutralizer to this in the coconut tree. They mixed breadfruit with coconut and evolved a delicacy, which became popular, as it was found tasty and nourishing. This tree is now grown across Sri Lanka.
The fort area is occupied by mostly artists, writers, photographers, designers and poets of foreign origin and is now a mixed bag of boutiques, hotels and restaurants.
Galle Lighthouse (also known as Pointe de Galle Light) is an onshore Lighthouse in Galle, Sri Lanka and is operated and maintained by the Sri Lanka Ports Authority.
This is Sri Lanka's oldest light station dating back to 1848 but the original 24.5 meters (80 ft) high lighthouse built by the Britishwas located about 100 metres (330 ft) from the current site, however it was destroyed by fire in 1934.The existing 26.5 meters (87 ft) high light house was erected here in 1939.The original light was furnished with a glass prism lens floating in a bath of mercury (to reduce friction) and was powered by a weight driven machine.
The light station is within the walls of the ancient Galle Fort, a UNESCO world heritage site and well known tourist attraction.The lighthouse is strategically located at the southern end of the promontory, built approximately 6 metres (20 ft) above the road level on the ramparts, at what is known as the Point Utrecht Bastion, giving it full view of any ships entering Galle Harbour.