The seaside town of Galle or “Gaul”, can be visited by tourists by travelling 116 km from Colombo along side the south western coast of Sri Lanka. Travellers will love the picturesque routes moving alongside the south western coastline closely for much of the way. The port city of Galle is the best example of a fortified city built by Europeans in Southeast Asia. Galle is a perfect blend of natural beauty and history with its colonial villas and houses surrounded by panoramic view of ocean.
One of the most admirable features of the town is the great architecture of historical monuments. There are no words to describe the charming natural beauty of Galle surrounded by ocean from three sides. The major tourist attractions of Galle are the city Fort, Dutch reformed church, Dutch museum, lighthouse, the majestic and old Clock Tower. Galle fort is a structure that should not be missed, known among travellers for its unique European architectural style and its grand size. The city fort is a UNESCO world heritage site. Tourists can also enjoy shopping in the traditional markets of Galle, which are among the oldest markets of Sri Lanka. The tourism infrastructure of the city is well developed with the city having some of the top end hotels, along with small guest houses and cafes opened by European expats, who have settled in the Fort area.
Galle is one of the major cities of Sri Lanka, which was a major port since earlier part of history. The city has a tropical climate and the temprature is mild varying between 20s and 30s throughout the year. The proximity of Galle from popular beaches Unawatuna and Hikkaduwa, also makes travellers make a day trip to city from these beaches.
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
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 Sri Lanka’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.