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Sri Lanka

Galle

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Galle TravelGalle is located in southern coastline of Sri Lanka, 116km off the capital Colombo. Most prominent among the attractions of Galle is UNESCO designated World Heritage Site the Dutch Fort. Number of colonial buildings would give you sense as if you are in Dutchland. You can enjoy a nice evening on the beautiful beach of Unawatuna. Best time to visit Galle is from October through April.

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Dutch Fort
Portuguese made this fort to shield themselves from attacks of the Sri Lankan natives. However the Dutch captured this fort after they subjugated the Portuguese. They then improved the defence system of the fort, deepening and widening the moat, and strengthening the ramparts. The British who followed the Dutch left the Fort intact.for they shifted themselves to Colombo. The Dutch atmosphere in the fort still prevails.

The Churches
Groote Klerk, the oldest Protestant church in Sri Lanka, was built in Galle. The 'new' Dutch Church was constructed on Church Street in 1754. Several hatchments and engraved tombstones here were transferred from the old church. Old Dutch graveyard is located at the entrance to the market.

Ahangama / Midigama
The area is known for its unique method of silt fishing. It offers a very beautiful scenery which becomes extra beautiful during sunset. This is a popular surfing place.

Old Mansions
Dating from British times, those of these which still stand are a reminder of British mercantile prosperity. The best preserved of them, the Closenberg, with the P&O sunburst on its roof supports was the residence of the P&O agent Captain Bailey. Also worth visiting is the mansion on Leyn Baan Street in- side which is a museum. No fee is charged. The superbly sited Arm stage, on its last legs now, once inspired poetic hymns by Bishop Heber. The 300 year old New Orient Hotel on Church Road as the oldest hotel in Sri Lanka deserves a look for its ambience and antique furniture.

Koggala
A well-known local writer Martin Wikramasinghe was born here. Museum of Folk, Art & Culture is built in his honour at his old residence. The museum displays intriguing local folk items. Attires of folk dancers, sports items, household items and furniture and vast arena of the folk life of the early 20th century are also displayed. Koggala Lake is a popular destination for picnics and bird watching.

Excursions
Located 5 kms off the main town, Unawatuna Beach is pretty good place to pass some productive time.

How to Reach
Air: Land at Bhandarnaike Airport of Colombo. Then take a bux or taxi for Galle.

Sea: Galle is an international sea port with passenger vessels ferrying to and from various important ports across the world.

Galle CityMoving Around
A good network of road and rail services links Galle to other parts of Sri Lanka. For visiting various places within Galle one can rely on taxis and cabs.

Accommodation
You need not worry accommodation services in Galle. Various types of accommodation catering to all kinds of budgets are located in Galle. Hotels, inns, guest houses, resorts, all kinds of accommodation are available in Galle.

Shopping
Lace making is a popular handicraft here. Brussels and the more contemporary Honiton type lace is available. This type of lace is handmade on pillows. Another popular local craft is gem polishing. Several jewellers shops are located here. Carved pieces of ebony are another option if lace and jewelery don't fascinate you. Without having a souvenir a visit to Galle is incomplete.

History
Before 1587 Sinhala monarchs ruled Galle. However the town was annexed by the Portuguese. They built the first fort here. Their capture of Point de GalIe was relatively short as it was won from them only 53 years later by the Dutch. During the battle between the two, Portuguese women and children had taken refuge in an underground vault. However all of them perished before one of the armies reached there because of congestion and lack of food and water. The victorious Dutch were later overrun by the British. Galle acquired independence in 1948.


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