GALLE : The Dutch Dominion


Galle, 119km from Colombo, is a major city situated at the tip of the South Western coast of Sri Lanka. Being a coastal area, it is quite hot and humid but has an abundance of beautiful beaches in every town that you pass while travelling from Colombo to Galle. The Galle Fort was built by the Portuguese, fortified later by the Dutch and is well preserved till today. In addition to the Portuguese and Dutch remains, you will also find many British mansions left behind. As for beaches, the Unawatuna Bay probably tops it all and is safe for snorkeling and swimming because a reef protects it. There you have it, a day tour of the city of Galle in a nutshell. In case there is a delay in your departure, try using the Southern Expressway, a recently built highway that can take you to Galle in half the time. 


 
Galle was known as Gimhathiththa (although Ibn Battuta) in the 14th century refers to it as Qal) before the arrival of the   in the 16th century, when it was the main port on the island. Galle reached the height of its development in the 18th century, during the Dutch clonicol period. Galle is the best example of a fortified city built by the Portuguese in South and Southeast Asia, showing the interaction between Portuguese architecture  styles and native traditions. The city was extensively fortified by the Dutch during the 17th century from 1649 onwards. The Galle fort is a world heritage site and is the largest remaining fortress in Asia built by European occupiers.

Other prominent landmarks in Galle include the cityís natural harbor, the National maritime museum, St. Maryís cathedral founded by Jesuit priests,  one of the main Shiva temples on the island, and Amangalla, the historic luxury hotel. On 26 December 2004, the city was devastated by the massive tsunami caused by the 2004 Indian ocean earthquake, which occurred off the coast of Indonesia  a thousand miles away. Thousands were killed in the city alone. Galle is home to the Galle international stadium, which is considered to be one of the most picturesque Cricket grounds in the world