Galle Fort, Sri Lanka

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Define Galle Fort, Sri Lanka

Constructed under the supervision of Portuguese in 1505, Galle Fort was subsequently renovated and expanded by the Dutch in 1656. Modern Galle FortĀ is a fortification constructed by the Dutch in the 17th century, starting in 1649, in the Bay of Galle on the southwest coast of Sri Lanka. Thanks to significant restoration work completed by the Sri Lankan archeological Department, this historical, archeological, and architectural heritage site still looks polished after more than 432 years.

The multiethnic and multireligious population of the fort today is a result of its rich past.The Sri Lankan government and many Dutch property owners who remain in the fort are aiming to make this one of the modern marvels of the world.Inscribed as a cultural heritage UNESCO World Heritage Site under criteria iv, the fort’s heritage value has been acknowledged by the organization for its distinctive display of “an urban ensemble which illustrates the interaction of European architecture and South Asian traditions from the 16th to the 19th centuries.

Fort Galle, Sri Lanka

As per James Emerson Tennent’s report, Galle was the ancient seaport of Tarshish, Ivory, peacocks, and other valuables were drawn by King Soloman Since the Hebrew origin of the word cinnamon and the fact that it was exported from Sri Lanka as early as 1400 BC suggest that Galle may have been a major seaport for spices,.

Situated along the southern expressway, Galle is conveniently accessible from Colombo within an hour. Among the most populous cities in southern Sri Lanka, Galle is a highly sought-after tourist destination. Galle, with its pristine beaches, forest sections, lakes, rivers, diving and snorkeling sites, and water sports facilities, is a multifaceted vacation destination. An excursion along the south coast of Sri Lanka is the most effective method to explore this intriguing tourist destination.

The Galle Fort, situated between the Indian Ocean and the most picturesque cricket stadium in the world (Galle Cricket Stadium), is a UNESCO world heritage site and the best-preserved Dutch colonial fort in Asia. Its architecture dates back to the 18th century. The mighty granite wall and tens of thousands of Dutch-built residences that fortify the medieval city provide daily lodging for hundreds of thousands of tourists and are in excellent condition. The majority of the fort’s infrastructure has been repurposed into hotels, stores, dormitories, galleries, and museums.

One-day tour of Sri Lanka that are reasonably priced are offered by Seerendipity excursions. Visit www.seerendipitytours.com/one-day-trips for additional details on this and numerous other one-day Sri Lankan programs.

What is the dimensions of Galle Fort?

The total area of Galle Fort is 52 hectares (130 acres).

Galle, Sri Lanka

Galle Sri Lanka is a captivating metropolis with a rich historical background that can be traced back to the pre-Christian era. Outstanding among its historical, natural, and cultural offerings are its pristine palm-fringed beaches. Galle Sri Lanka is renowned for its hospitable, welcoming, and warm inhabitants. Galle Sri Lanka provides an extensive assortment of tourist attractions that cater to the preferences and financial capacities of travelers, encompassing remarkable marine sanctuaries and rainforests as well as colonial palaces adorned with Dutch colonial heritage. As the most populous metropolis in southern Sri Lanka, Galle also provides an abundance of shopping opportunities.

Similar to the Jaffna fort located in northern Sri Lanka, the Galle Fort is an archaeological marvel whose distinctive architecture is admired by archaeologists. Architectural marvels of the region include the Wolvendaal church in Galle, which features “horseshoe”-shaped windows and precipitous roofs accompanied by expansive verandas. Additionally noteworthy are the elaborate facades, magnificent masks, delicate figures, and intricate patterns that embellish a significant number of the structures.

What is the location of Galle Fort?

The picturesque city of Galle is situated 118 kilometers away from commercial city (Colombo) of Sri Lanka. Galle has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is regarded as a significant historical metropolis due to its location. This historic city is situated on the southern coast of Sri Lanka, adjacent to picturesque beaches. As a result, Galle is well-liked by both domestic and international tourists, and the Galle excursion holds significant value for the majority of travelers. Presently, Galle is widely regarded as the foremost tourist destination in Sri Lanka and is a mandatory stop on virtually every tour itinerary.

8 Important articles to read before planing the Galle tour

Places to visit on A Sightseeing Tour to Galle?

One of the most convenient tourist destinations to reach from Colombo is Galle, owing to the recently constructed southern expressway. thus, Highway construction has greatly simplified the process of reaching Galle from Colombo; the journey from Colombo takes only one hour. Daily, a considerable number of Sri Lankan tour operators, including Seerendipity tours, arrange one-day excursions to Galle departing from Colombo and coastal resorts. While you are en route from Colombo to Galle, the majority of these day trips provide the opportunity to visit dozens of additional unique and fascinating locations as well.

  • Sea turtle conservation project
  • Mask museum
  • Bentota beach
  • Hikkaduwa beach
  • Moon stone mines
  • Kandevihara temple
  • Spice/Herbal garden

The Galle Fort as a vacation spot

Galle Sri Lanka, similar to the majority of other beach vacation destinations in Sri Lanka, provides a variety of excursions both within and beyond the city. Seerendipity Tours can be of assistance if you encounter challenges in coordinating your own Sri Lankan experiences. We offer excursions to Galle Sri Lanka and the majority of other Sri Lankan tourist destinations on a regular basis. Participating in a guided excursion to Galle Sri Lanka provides an opportunity to gain insight into the distinctive southern Sri Lankan culture, encompassing traditional rituals, attire, cuisine, literature, handicrafts, and an additional emblematic act performed by the inhabitants of Galle.

Galle Fort as a destination for tourists

The Fort, the city’s most historically significant structure, is a highlight of each day trip to Galle. Situated on the southern province of Sri Lanka, the fortress of Galle is situated on the picturesque western flank. Encircled by water on three sides and providing access to the mainland on one, it resembles a golden citadel and rises more than a dozen meters above the sandy beaches. Constructed in 1505, the fortified citadel perches on the highest point separating the city of Galle and the coastline.

As the preeminent tourist destination in Galle Sri Lanka, the Dutch Fort is a mandatory stopover for the majority of Sri Lanka tour packages. Along the cobblestone pathways are boutique hotels, houses, museums, galleries, and stores that have been whitewashed in the Dutch style. Limited locations on the planet can rival the picturesque ambiance of this walled colonial city. However, this UNESCO World Heritage Site encompasses much more than mere Dutch architecture and colonial allure.

What is Galle Fort’s significance?

Galle Fort is the Dutch fort with the highest degree of preservation in all of South Asia. The ancient section of the city of Galle is delineated by the fort’s tall wall. Constructed upon a headland, the fort is enclosed by the Indian Ocean on three sides. The length of the rampart of the Galle Fort exceeds 2.5 kilometers, and it is frequented by tens of thousands of expatriates and locals alike. Individuals stroll along the rampart in the evening, taking pleasure in the picturesque ambiance and calming gust of the Indian Ocean.

Galle has long been regarded as a prominent trade marketplace in the Orient ever since the inception of commerce. Galle is significant not only for the commerce of Sri Lanka but also for its history. King Solomon, according to the Old Testament, drew precious stones and other precious objects from the port of Galle (Tarshish). In addition to its historical significance and economic context, the Dutch fort is the lone most significant factor that has designated the city as a UNESCO world heritage site. Built in the 15th century, this Dutch fort exemplifies Old Dutch architectural style and urban planning.

The initial section of Galle Fort

The commencement of the fortification is ascribed to the Portuguese conquest in 1505 A.D. A Portuguese fleet, under the leadership of Lorenzo De Almeida, en route to the Maldives, was inadvertently stranded in Galle due to strong winds. In 1587, the Portuguese forcibly seized the prosperous trading port of Galle, thereby limiting the Kandyan monarchs’ access to the maritime region.

Galle Fort was under Dutch occupation

On the arrival of Dutch colonial authorities , the Galle fort underwent an expansion to achieve its current dimensions. The city underwent significant portion of construction and expansion, followed by the installation of advanced subsurface sewer drainage systems. thus, majority of the ancient structures are still operational and in excellent condition after using several centuries..

Despite the English occupation of Galle Fort during the 19th century, the Dutch exerted the most significant influence on the vicinity, including Galle town, Galle Fort, harbor, and the local populace. Old Dutch characteristics are still evident in the town and fort; Dutch architecture, street names, and town limits have hardly changed since their inception. Popular names for the streets of the fort include Leyn Baan Street (Lijnbaan, Dutch for “rope walk”), Lighthouse Street (Zeeburg Street), and Great and Small Modarabaay Streets (Modderbaai).

The Dutch Fort was under supervision of British territory

The Dutch fort was captured by the British in 1796. A new entrances were incorporated into the fortifications that the British modified marginally. The Colombo rather than Galle is focused by the British administration in Colombo, thus, Dutch fort not received relatively fair attention from British rulers as well.. Today, Galle Fort is preserved under the supervision by joint effort of Galle Heritage Foundation and archaeological department.

Consider of visiting Galle Fort

  • The Ramparts
  • National Museum of Galle
  • National Maritime Museum
  • All Saints’ Church
  • Reformed Dutch Church
  • Natural Harbour of Galle
  • Old lighthouse
  • The English Gate was constructed in 1873 by the British.
  • The Dutch gate features a carved British Court of Arms adorning the exterior, accompanied by the VOC monogram etched into the stonework interior.
  • Dutch residences and the Dutch penitentiary
  • Previously hospital and factory now it has been transformed into the structure of a government office.

Ramayana and Galle

Historical evidence indicates that the city has been inhabited since the Pre-Christian period. The city’s inaugural historical occurrence is associated with the Ramayana. As per Ramayana, a significant portion of Sri Lanka was submerged in water. The Lighthouse is located on an isolated rock in the southeast sea of the island, This is being referred to public as a Ravana Fort.

Rumassala

Due to the Rama-Rawana conflict, the southern border of the city is adorned with the Rumassala forest.when Laxmana sustained an injury against Ravana in the conflict ,Hanuman (the Monkey God) was tasked by Rama to retrieve medicine from the Himalayas. The name of herbs is forgotten by Hanuman. He returned to the island by fetching a portion of Himalaya. Presently, Rumassala is regarded as a portion of the mountain from India that he extracted.

Is the ancient port of Tarshish the harbor of Galle?

As per James Emerson Tennent’s report ,Galle was the ancient seaport of Tarshish, The King Solomon drew ivory, peacocks, and other valuables, according to James Emerson Tennent. Since the Hebrew origin of the word cinnamon and the fact that it was exported from Sri Lanka as early as 1400 BC suggest that Galle may have been a major seaport for spices. It had historically been a significant eastern trading port, where a large number of merchants gathered to exchange products. In its early years, Galle harbour served as a significant source of foreign exchange revenue for the country through taxation. King’s authorities allegedly imposed exorbitant tariffs on the commercial vessels that were docked into Galle Harbour.

The Astonish landing of Lorenzo De Almeida in Galle

When the Portuguese merchant vessel Lorenzo de Almeida unintentionally arrived in 1505, it was astounded to observe the bustling port and the city’s commercial activities. The name Galle originates from the Portuguese word Gallus, and according to legend, a Portuguese vessel became entangled in a tempest and adrift in the sea prior to making landfall in the southern region of Sri Lanka. When the ship approached the land and heard a crow from the land, one of the crew members yelled “Gallus Gallus”; the term “Gallus” eventually evolved into the current name “Galle.”

Dutch Fort is regarded as the most well-preserved fortified city in Asia that European colonial powers constructed

Established during the colonial era of Europe in Asia, Galle Dutch Fort is the most well-preserved fortified city on the UNESCO World Heritage list. The Portuguese, having established dominion over the island’s maritime region, proactively constructed the Galle Fort.

At its inception, it was a modest fortification guarded by a limited contingent of soldiers. With their conquest of the maritime region, the Dutch overlords enlarged the Galle fort, elevating it to the status of the most sizable fort in the nation. They transformed the fort into a fully developed metropolis complete with all amenities. Nonetheless, the majority of structures feature traditional Dutch architecture, and even the names of streets, residences, and other structures are in Dutch. Little of significance was added to the fort during the British occupation.

A significant tourist destination in southern Sri Lanka is Galle

Presently, it stands as a prominent destination in the southern region of Sri Lanka, renowned for its substantial cultural and historical significance. The Dutch fort is adorned with an abundance of churches, sanctuaries, and other religious edifices. The fort is replete with souvenir and textile stores, jewelry boutiques, museums, and street vendors. Particularly in the evening and on weekends, when locals visit to appreciate the fort’s old-fashioned allure, the area can become quite crowded.

Is any entrance fee is required to pay of visiting Galle Fort?

There is no entrance to Galle Fort. Fort is maintained under the auspices of the Galle municipal council and the archaeological department. It is among Galle’s most densely populated residential areas. Despite this, its historical and architectural significance result in the daily influx of tens of thousands of visitors. Despite its notoriety and widespread interest, admission to the Fort does not entail any monetary charge. However, only a limited number of Fort-based tourist attractions, including the maritime museum, require payment in order to gain entry. The entrance to Galle Fort is complimentary for all visitors, and the majority of the fort’s significant tourist attractions are also accessible without charge. Nevertheless, the Fort contains only a limited number of tourism attractions, including the Galle Maritime Museum, which demand payment for admission.

What the time of opening Galle fort for general public ?

Galle Fort is accessible around the clock. The answer to the question of when is the best time to visit the Galle Fort is that there is no specific time to do so. Numerous travelers inquire via email whether there is an optimal time of day to visit Galle Fort. In response, the Fort remains accessible round the clock. Galle Fort does not impose any restrictions on visiting hours; the fort remains accessible throughout the entire day. Those who wish to see this magnificent colonial city, on the other hand, should visit between 08:00 and 17:00. Hotels, restaurants, bars, cafes, stores, galleries, and museums are all operational during the day. thus, traversing the rampart is a straightforward task.

Galle Fort on foot excursion

A walking tour of Galle invariably includes a visit to Galle Fort, as it is the preeminent tourist attraction in the area and the remainder of the city exhibits the attributes of a bustling metropolis. Whether you are interested in investigating the various attractions of Galle Fort for thirty minutes to several hours is a factor in determining the duration of the walking tour.

The Fort contains a labyrinthine cobblestone thoroughfare lined with hundreds of thousands of Dutch-built structures. Some of the structures are in excellent condition despite being over two centuries old. Certain structures have been transformed into museums, libraries, shops, and hotels, providing visitors with the opportunity to sample delectable Sri Lankan cuisine while perusing an assortment of artifacts, souvenirs, garments, gems, and jewelry.

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