Sri Lanka’s best-preserved colonial townscapeSri Lanka’s best-preserved colonial townscapeSri Lanka's best-preserved colonial townscape is relatively unexplored and boasts undiscovered beaches, lush jungles, ancient temples and luxury hotels.
This fort, initially built by the Portuguese, was taken over by the Dutch in 1640. They further fortified it over the next 6-7 decades, also building a new elaborate system of sewers. Every high tide they would be flooded, taking the sewage out to the sea.
This walled city, within the city gives a peak into Galle's colonial past. The pillars and the facades, courtyards full of the shops selling spices and sarongs, antiques and modern curios give a glimpse of the old times.
One of the most pleasant strolls you can take in town is the circuit of the fort walls at dusk. As the daytime heat fades away, from the lighthouse walk clockwise around the top of the ramparts all the way to the main town-facing bastions. Flag Rock, is a part of the wall where it is a great place to be at sunset.
There are also many old structured within the fort to see and explore.
Dutch Reformed Church
The Dutch Reformed Church is worth a visit for its atmosphere and architecture. Originally built in 1640, the present building dates from 1752 to 1755. Its floor is paved with gravestones from the old Dutch cemetery (the oldest dates from 1662). The organ from 1760 still sits in the building and the impressive pulpit, made from calamander wood from Malaysia, is an impressive piece.
With an entrance behind the iconic old Bell Tower, this is easily the more engaging of Galle's two maritime museums. Exhibits include interactive displays and ancient artefacts that illuminate the town’s maritime past, including the many shipwrecks in the surrounding waters.
This vast, colonnaded colonial landmark dates to the 18th century. Its size was necessary as both the voyage to Ceylon and life in the tropics proved very unhealthy to the Dutch, who died in droves from various diseases and the tropical heat. Recently restored, it is now home to many boutique shops and cafes.