GALLE FORT — COLONIAL LIFE
I went with a well-researched list of places I wanted to visit when I visited Sri Lanka late last year. The teardrop country, near India, holds in itself centuries of tradition and its ancient cities and the Galle Fort witness history.
About 100 km from the capital, Colombo, and very close to the place where I was lodged in the south, Galle made even more sense to me when I learned that in 1505 a Portuguese vessel bound for the Maldives stopped there to take refuge from a storm.
The guides tell that a cock (“galo” in Portuguese) was on board and that when they heard him sing, they decided to call that new land Galle. However, other say that the name of the city comes from the word in Sinhala, gala (rock). Well, I confess that the first theory is much more interesting. 😉
The Portuguese presence continues for years, even with the construction of a small fort, which they called Santa Cruz. But with the entry of the Dutch, all traces were erased and, in 1663, the fortress that we can visit today was built.
Walking the streets of Galle Fort
I entered the walls through the old gate under a Dutch coat of arms, next to the Marine Archeological Museum and going to the large square surrounded by courts.
Cars can drive inside the fort, but it’s best to walk the streets full of historic buildings, churches, mosques, small shops and restaurants.
The Dutch Hospital was the second stop. This former colonial building from the 18th century, which once received patients, today gives way to a series of shops and restaurants, with tables that extend through the balconies facing the sea.
From there, following the outline of the walls, the view conquers you, as we approach another icon of this place: a lighthouse with 18 meters. From 1938, it still works today.
We then chose to cross the inner streets to reach the Dutch Reformed Church and the Sun Bastion, with its Clock Tower and a view over the Galle International Cricket Stadium (another of the legacies of the people who passed through those lands).
Where to eat and sleep in Forte de Galle
As I said, I stayed in Ahangama, but within the walls of the Galle Fort there are innumerable lodges for all tastes and wallets.
Choose HERE the best place to spend the night surrounded by History.
As for the meals, I followed the suggestions of the Lonely Planet and went to discover the Elita restaurant, near the lighthouse. Completely recommended! Mainly the tuna Carpaccio and the prawns. We liked it so much that on our last night in Sri Lanka we went back there. 🙂
Check out the video on the Galle Fort:
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