Galle Fort is situated on the south coast of Sri Lanka. It was first constructed by the Portuguese in 1588 to guard their domain on coastal Sri Lanka. Then the fort was extensively fortified by the Dutch when they took over the rule of Sri Lanka from the Portuguese in 1649. The fort is now considered part of Netherlands and the government of Netherlands is funding multiple projects to ensure the conservation of this historical, archaeological and architectural heritage monument.
Today the fort is home to a multi-ethnic and multi-religious population, and it has become one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. The fort has been named a UNESCO World heritage sight in recognition for its unique exposition of “an urban ensemble which illustrates the interaction of European architecture and South Asian traditions from the 16th to 19th centuries.”
How to Get there
It is really easy to get to the Galle Fort once you get to Galle. You can walk from the central bus stand or the train station or if you came by car you can just drive in.
by car you just need to follow the highway A2 or Galle road as its commonly known without any turn offs. Condition of the road is excellent, other than for areas that are under construction. Traffic conditions are varied as there might be some traffic blocks from Colombo fort to Moratuwa, and in major towns and cities along the way. There are number of renting option if your looking to rent a vehicle. 2.5 hours.
you can get on an AC bus or a semi luxury bus from Colombo-Pettah Bus stand. The bus service has got very good over the years and there are buses available through out the day for both ways. If your traveling with lots of luggage buses are not a good option. But if your traveling light buses are a good hassle free option. 3 hours.
there are train services operating multiple times daily to Galle from the main train terminal in Colombo-Fort and also from Maradana train station. You can book seats on first and second class trains at the Colombo-Fort terminal. Most of the route is next to the ocean and you can enjoy some amazing views, specially during the evening sunset. 2-3 hours.
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Interesting Places / Details
There are High Walls built from granite all around the fort, these walls forms the ramparts that protect the fort. In earlier times these ramparts housed guards and cannons. When your visiting the fort make sure to go around it on the ramparts. There are many nice walk ways constructed on the ramparts and they are very well maintained. Be careful when you are going to the edge of the ramparts on the sea side as sometime there might be lose stones on that side due to wind and sea erosion.
one of the prominent features of the fort, the clock tower is a relatively new addition. Amazingly the clock on this tower gives the correct time unlike many towers in the country. A true architectural masterpiece, provides a great back ground for portrait photos. Some nice photos of the tower can be taken during the early morning and in the evening with the sun rise or the sunset as a back ground.
This museum is situated in a tunnel in the ramparts, as soon as you enter through the main gate of the fort.
the light house on the Galle fort is functional and provides guidance for ships on international shipping routes and also for ships coming into the Galle harbor. If your interested you can go up-to the top floor of the light house. And if you can stay a bit late you can see the light house in operation at night, which is a truly amazing sight.
Where to Eat
want to taste some authentic Indian food? At this restaurant you pick from various dishes prepared by Indian cooks to suite your tastes. You can enjoy a view of the sea and feel the breeze while you have your food.