The Fortified City of Galle(Another UNESCO world heritage site)

The Portuguese

Aerial view of Galle city and its famous Fort

However it was the Portuguese who in the 17th Century, built a small fort at the mouth of the Bentota or Bentara Ganga. This wide river marked the southern extremity of Portuguese held territory in the island, as Dutch sails appeared on the horizon further south. The Dutch used the fort during their rule, as a resting place for stagecoaches plying between Colombo and Galle .

The seaside town of Galle is 116 Km. from Colombo by road or rail, down the southwest coast. Both routes are picturesque, following the coastline closely for much of the way.

Today's town has grown greatly and spreads into the hinterland but the Fort is the slow-beating heart of GalIe's history.

The walled city has stood since the early sixteenth century, through the Colonial periods of the Portuguese, Dutch and British and in our present times is proclaimed as an Archaeological Reserve and been identified as a World Heritage site.

The Portuguese took Galle from the Sinhala kings in 1587 and erected the first fortifications, a single wall fronted by a moat which extended from the sea to the harbour.


The Dutch

The Dutch landed in 1640 with 12 ships and 2,000 men under the command of Wilhelm Jacobsz Coster who defeated the Portuguese after severe fighting and a four-day siege. Akersloot Bastion is named after the birthplace of Coster, the Dutch commander who captured Galle .

The Dutch later converted the Portuguese fortaleza into a single bastion which they named Zwart Bastion and built a formidable line of defense, ringing the walled town by ten bastions, which endure to this day.

Through the rolling streams of time and change, Galle still retains as few other towns in Sri Lanka -an atmosphere of the past. The town was graced with considerable civic amenities and military features.

Despite recent face-lifts and new facades to many of the houses and the introduction of modern civic amenities like electricity, telephone systems, water and drainage services, the streets remain narrow and many are known by their original names such as Leyn-Baan street , Zeeberg street and Moderabaay street .

A peep into the old houses reveal them to be spacious and airy, with large, ornamental doors and windows, pillared verandahs and cool inner courtyards and gardens.

"Nowhere else in Sri Lanka is there such a selection  of world class places to eat and shop within such a short distance of each other"                                      

- The Independent

  Some Beaches

Unawatuna Beach

Voted the best beach in the world by Lonely Planet in 2001

Mirissa Beach

Safe swimming in a picture perfect setting

Wijaya beach

A local beach with some clubs on the sand

Galle Fort Beaches

Tiny private beaches around the lighthouse … low tide reveals coral and rock pools.

End of Lighthouse Street beach …. Good for an early morning dip

Dadella Beach at the Lighthouse Hotel

Spectacular sunsets with safer swimming in the hotel pool

Jungle Beach

A brisk trek through beautiful vegetation leads to a tiny private beach with fishing boats

Shopping

Galle Fort

The Property Shop                            

Consultations and help for people wanting to buy, rent, sell, architecturally design, conserve, develop, construct, decorate, maintain and rent property in Galle Fort and surrounds. 

Barefoot in the Fort                          

The full barefoot range of clothing, hand made items, collectibles and books is now in Galle Fort in a beautifully converted shophouse.

Elephant Walk                                  

Gifts, furniture Homewares, Souvenirs and a selection of fine Saris

The Gallery                                       

Clothing, furniture, Unique piece from the Manika Jewellery collection and special exhibitions of photography and painting.]

Exotic Roots                                      

A gallery of unique paintings, local craftwork and souvenirs

Bespoke Jewellery

Safa Ibrahim Jewellers                        Laksana    

World Craft                               

The Fort Historical Mansion            

Antiques & antique jewellery

Mimi Mango 

Joe Edens collection of divine clothing and accessories

Olanda Antiques and Reproductions 

A warehouse of furniture, architectural items, bits and pieces

Shantha Weerasekara                                  

Very affordable Fashion Jewellery

Suthuvili Gallery                               

A gallery of traditional Sri Lankan  hand painted and finely carved collectibles and furniture.

Shopping Beyond the Fort

The Lighthouse Boutique

Barefoot, Rices and Spices, Mlesna Teas, Atuwa Leather

Douglas and Sons

One of the largest jewellery showrooms in the area

Manika Jewellery @ Illuketia

In the tradition of Dick Dumas, Nikki Harrison's unique designs

Thowfeek in Main Street , Galle

Custom Made Clothing and an extensive collection of Saris

Udaya's Traditional Drum Workshop, Shop & School

A drum master and university lecturer in Sri Lanka drumming

Gintota Silk Factory

Sri Lankan Silk direct from the manufacturer

Koggala Batik Factory

Traditional batik items from the manufacturers

The Wood Carvers of Happugala

Antiques and Reproductions

Amabalangoda, Talpe, Unawatuna and Galle Fort

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