Galle is situated in the Southern part of Sri Lanka, approximately about 116 kilometers to the south from the capital city, Sri Jayewardenepura Kotte, or in other words, about 108 kilometers to the south of Colombo. Galle is the capital city of the Southern Province of Sri Lanka, and is the home for nearly a one million population.
Galle lies in Galle District.
Galle is the best example of a fortified city built by Europeans in south and southeast Asia,showing the interaction between European architectural styles and south Asian traditions. The Galle fort is a world heritage site and the largest remaining fortress in Asia built by European occupiers. Other prominent landmarks in Galle include St. Mary's Cathedral founded by Jesuit priests, one of the main Shiva temples on the island, and The Amangalla, a historic luxury hotel.
Galle is the main town in the most southerly part of the island, with a population of around 100,000, and is connected by rail to Colombo and Matara. It is home to a cricket ground, the Galle International Stadium, rebuilt after the 2004 tsunami. Test matches resumed there on December 18, 2007.
The town got its name as 'Gaalla' in the native tongue as a result of the large number of bullock carts that took shelter there in following the long slow journies from remote areas of the island. The favorite station with greater numbers of carts and bulls were called 'Maagalla' or Magalle
Galle, the main city and port on the south coast, retains a romantic, old-world atmosphere with in its Dutch fort. In fact, Galle is considered to be Sri Lanka’s most
historically interesting city still functioning.
It began to assume importance after a Portuguese fleet arrived accidentally in 1505. The story goes that on hearing a cock (gallus in Portuguese) crowing on their arrival, the Portuguese gave the town its name. More likely is that Galle derives it name from the Sinhala, gala, meaning a rock. Indeed, the harbour is strewn with rocks, some above but many below the water, a factor that made it quite dangerous for shipping in earlier times. Nevertheless, until the construction of breakwaters at the Colombo port was completed in 1875, Galle remained the island’s major port.
Galle Then Where?
Portuguese built the first fort to withstand attack from the Sri Lankan kingdoms to the north. Dutch who captured the coastal cities from the Portuguese improved the defence system of the fort, widening the moat on the landside, improving the ramparts and the bastions. British who captured the city did not make many changes as they shifted the part to the northern town of Colombo and therefore the atmosphere of Dutch days are preserved to date. The Dutch entrance to the fort with it VOC with 1669 carved in the inner archway is still in use. Still there
but unfortunately except for those in the private hands. The ramparts and the bastions still bring to life the old world.
It houses eight religious institutions that include Temples, Y.M.B.A, Y.W.C.A churches, Mosques, Zaviyas and Thakkiyas etc, that have pioneered and propagated religion and upheld all cultural values, morals, traditions, customs and other activities for several centuries.
There is a museum inside the Dutch fort which is in a Dutch Colonial building in Church Street is the Cultural Museum adjoining the AmanGalla Hotel. The artifacts reflect the art and culture of the Southern Province, The museum was Built by a Dutch Army officer at the site of a previous Portuguese church and completed in 1754 the church is situated close to the new entrance to the fort. The church contains record of marriages since 1748 and baptism from 1678
Dutch Reformed Church
Built by a Dutch Army officer at the site of a previous Portuguese church and completed in 1754 the church is situated close to the new entrance to the fort. The church contains record of marriages since 1748 and baptism from 1678. The major highlight of the building is there are no pillars inside the building and the weight of the roof is supported by the walls.
The old lighthouse with the lantern at the height of 92 feet above low-water, built in 1848 was burnt down in 1936. The new light was built in 1940 at Utreeth Bastion in the same street, lighthouse street called 'Zeeburgstraat' 'Middelpuntstraat' during the Dutch period. The lantern is 92 feet above low-water level.
Unawatuna is the favorite chilling place for frequent Independent travelers. Year after year they keep coming back. Unawatuna is just four kilometer further south down Route A2 from the dutch fortress city of Galle