Dutch Fort at Galle
The 17th c. Dutch Fort of Galle, close to the island’s southernmost point, 173 km fro Colombo has the distinction of being the best-preserved sea fort in South Asia. Enter through the imposing stone bastions that encircle the sea-facing promontory and step back in time. Inside the Fort you will find that it exudes old-world charm. The narrow streets are dotted with Dutch colonial villas and there’s a welcome absence of vehicular traffic. There are several museums and antique shops that display curiosities from the island’s colonial era. Of the many colonial buildings, perhaps the most absorbing is the Dutch Reformed Church, containing ornately carved memorials to the city’s Dutch settlers. The Fort also hosts some of the island’s most exclusive boutique-style accommodation in former villas restored to their colonial glory.
The Portuguese established the first fort in Galle. This was captured by the Dutch in 1640, after which the fortifications were expanded and the grid street system established. Further extensions were made during the British period. The passenger port gained importance, but with the construction of a breakwater at Colomb, Galle slipped into maritime decline.
Stroll along the massive ramparts at dusk. Experience the tranquil ambience of a bygone era yet see life as it proceeds: children flying kites, games of softball cricket, and couples canoodling behind the privacy of umbrellas. They all seem to enhance the magic of the Fort.