Galle is a beautiful city to witness the sun and sand. Galle Harbour was frequented by Chinese and Arabians sailors before the Portuguese occupied Galle in the 16th century. The Dutch captured Galle in 1640 and handed it over to the British in 1796. History reveals that the Chinese Admiral Zheng He, who commanded seven great voyages through the South China Seas and the Indian Ocean between 1405 and 1433, erected a tablet in 1409 in Galle in commemoration of his second visit to Sri Lanka. The trilingual tablet discovered in 1911 has inscriptions in Chinese, Tamil and Arabic languages, suggesting that the Chinese were dealing with a cosmopolitan trading community at that time.
Galle Dutch Fort
The fort built by the Portuguese in 1588 holds most of the attention as you can explore the city of Galle through its walls. Which among the most popular sites in Galle where it attracts those who value archaeological reserves and heritage. It is known as the oldest fort in Asia, named as a world heritage by UNESCO.
Dutch Reformed Church
Originally built in 1640, the present building dates from 1752. Its floor is paved with gravestones from Dutch cemeteries, while other impressive features include the organ and an imposing pulpit made from calamander wood and topped by a grand hexagonal canopy. You may encounter the friendly caretaker who will likely point out the (slightly bizarre) carved wooden memorial dedicated to a former Commander of Galle, Abraham Samlant – the tiny cotton shirt is said to be the one he was baptised in.
Built during the years 1681, this building is one of those which have persevered their charm for the centuries that have followed it. Originally it was constructed for the main purpose of giving medical help to the people who worked for the Dutch East India Company. Currently, a shopping complex but it served as a lot of places before being what it is today. Don’t miss out on visiting the Odels which are one of the most decent joints that sell high quality clothed and souvenirs.
The default beach for those visiting Galle is Unawatuna, one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. While it is not ideal for surfing, it is a great location if you want to go swimming because of the calm waters. If you are interested in snorkelling or other water sports, you can head to Jungle Beach which is located only a short walk away. This is one of the day outing places in Galle.
National Museum of Galle
While Sri Lanka as it exists today is a relatively young nation, the civilization that inhabited this part of the world is centuries old. If you want an insight into this rich and vibrant past of Sri Lanka, one of the top places to visit in Galle town is the National Museum of Galle. It offers the visitors to look into a cross-section of Sri Lanka’s entire history, artwork and relics from the Anuradhapura Kingdom, dating back to 4th century B.C.
Flag Rock, at the southernmost end of the Fort, was once a Portuguese bastion. Today it is easily the most popular place to catch a sunset. During daylight hours you may see daredevil locals leaping into the water from the rocks. During the Dutch period, approaching ships were signalled from the bastion atop Flag Rock, warning them of dangerous rocks – hence its name. Musket shots were fired from Pigeon Island, close to the rock, to further alert ships to the danger. Later, the Dutch built a lighthouse here; since removed, the nearby street name survives.
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