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Galle Sri Lanka

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The seaside town of Galle or “Gaul”, situated on the southwestern coast of Sri Lanka, is 116 Km., from Colombo with picturesque routes, following the coastline closely for much of the way. The port city of Galle is the best example of a fortified city built by Europeans in south and Southeast Asia, showing the great architecture of structures as well as gets a breathtaking view of the ocean and the nearby towns. The Fort is the slow-beating heart of Galle’s history. Other tourist destinations that deserve a special mention are the tall Lighthouse, the majestic and old Clock Tower.

Today, the city of Galle is divided into Old Galle, represented by the Galle Fort located north of the Colombo-Matara road; and New Galle, a commercialized and modernized part of the city. In between these two distinct parts of the city is a strip of open land formerly known as the Esplanade, which is now converted into the Galle International Stadium where international cricket competitions are organised.

HISTORY OF GALLE

Galle has a history related to the Dutch and Portugese rules. The Portugese rule lasted for 150 years that later moved into the hands of Portugal.

Before 1587 Sinhala monarchs ruled Galle. Known by the name of Point De Galle, this Southwestern Sri Lankan city was dominated by the Portuguese and the Dutch for a long time. The Galle Fort was erected at the time of the Portuguese for the primary purpose of protecting the city from invading Tamils. In 1640, the Dutch succeeded in wresting Galle and the rest of Sri Lanka away from Portuguese hold to establish a colonial rule that lasted for almost 150 years. During the Dutch colonial period Galle reached the height of its development and became the country’s main port and the center of trade and commerce among Persians, Arabians, Greeks, Romans, Malays and Indians. In 1796, when the British took over Galle from the Dutch, they did very little to alter or renovate any of the Dutch structures. British rule lasted until 1947 when Sri Lanka declared its independence from Britain.

TOURIST DESTINATIONS IN GALLE

Dutch Fort: Built in 1663, the fort still retains the atmosphere and charm of Dutch days. Many old Dutch buildings are still intact inside the fort. The best way to see the fort is by walking around at the time of sunset.

Dutch Museum: The Dutch Museum which is housed in a restored Dutch mansion of the time, contains paintings, prints, documents, furniture and ceramics from the Dutch colonial era.

Koggala: Koggala, near Galle is the hometown of a famous local writer Martin Wickramasinghe. The museum of Folk, Art & Culture built in his honour at his old residence has an excellent display of local folk items. They include the costumes of folk dancers, sports items, household items and furniture and vast arena of the folk life of the early 20th century. Take a boat trip in the lagoon and Kogggala Lake to see many of its small islands, which is a popular destination for bird watching.

Dutch Reformed Church: Built by a Dutch Army officer at the site of a previous Portuguese church and completed in 1754 the church is situated close to the new entrance to the fort. The church contains record of marriages since 1748 and baptism from 1678. The major highlight of the building is there are no pillars inside the building and the weight of the roof is supported by the walls.

Ahangama / Midigama: Home to a unique type of fishing technique. Silt fishing is a popular fishing method in the area and a very beautiful scenery to watch especially during sunset. Ahangama is also a popular surfing location.

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