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Monday, 9 February 2015

Sri Lanka Travel Pt 5: Walking Back In Time At Galle Fort


Galle is definitely a "must-see' place for holiday makers in Sri Lanka. I like the way the locals pronounce it with a slight roll of the tongue. It is 'Gaar-le' not 'Gawl' which I managed to imitate without a flaw (Nice to toot own horn once a while). 
The highlights of Galle is the old fortified town with its amazing collection of buildings, forts and ramparts dating back a few centuries. Left behind as a legacy by the Portuguese, Dutch and British, Galle Fort is the best preserved colonial sea fort in the whole of Asia. This beautiful town has also earned its status as Unesco World Heritage Site. 
I fell in love with the ambiance of this place. Taking a stroll around here is like walking back in time. Oblivious to the sunny spells, we walked, explored and marveled at the endless historical sites and structures within the fortified town.
Here are some highlights:
The Main Gate - Built by the British in 1873
Galle Fort - first built in 1588 by the Portuguese. Extended and expanded by the Dutch from year 1649 onwards.
Amangalla Hotel - Built in 1684 to house the Dutch Governor and officers. Converted to a hotel in the 19th century and in 2004, restored and reopened as the luxurious Amangalla Hotel.
Amangalla which exudes an air of grandeur charges  USD 550 ++/night for its cheapest room.
All Saints Anglican Church - 1871
Methodist Church - 1819
The most spectacular of all the heritage churches is The Dutch Reformed Church. Originally built in 1640 and restructured in 1752, its floor is paved with gravestones from the old Dutch cemetery. An old organ (1762) and an old pulpit made from calamander wood from Malaysia still sit in the building.
Inside Dutch Reformed Church.
Inside Dutch Reformed Church.
The gravestone paved floor inside Dutch Reformed Church
The gravestone paved floor inside Dutch Reformed Church
Dutch Reformed Church compound
Galle Library - 1832
The Old Gate
The Great Dutch Warehouse (1669) now houses the Marine Archaeological Museum.
The historical Bell Tower.
An old exhibit - a humongous anchor.
The Lighthouse -1939
Meeran Jumma Mosque - originally built in the 1750s and rebuilt in 1904
The Clock Tower - 1882
Flag Rock was once a Portuguese bastion. It is now a favorite spot to view the sunset.
The rampart
The rampart
Galle Beach viewed from the rampart. The sea is calm, and the water crystal clear. 
The streets are lined with lovely boutique shops, cafes and hotels many with colonnaded verandah and low terracotta roofs.
This artisan who was sculpturing right at the entrance of his shop invited us in to view his crafts.
The Galle Fort is also a favorite venue for wedding photography . There were more than 10 couples taking wedding photographs that day.
Tired from our 2 hours walk within the fort area, we made our our way back to the van. Our driver was resting inside waiting for us. 

The New City Of Galle
Outside the fort lies the new city of Galle. 
It is just one of those modern cities, nothing as spectacular as the forts within.

Galle Harbour
The bus station
We left Galle and proceeded to Hikkaduwa for lunch.

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