Galle Fort

What is Sri Lanka’s Galle Fort?


In the Bay of Galle on Sri Lanka’s southwest coast, the Portuguese built the first Galle Fort in 1505, and the Dutch later took control of it. The Dutch began construction on the modern Galle Fort in the 17th century, in 1649. The Sri Lankan Archeological Department’s significant restoration work has kept this historical, archeological, and architectural heritage site looking well preserved after more than 432 years.

Today, the fort’s multiethnic and multireligious population is a result of its rich past. The Sri Lankan government and many Dutch property owners who remain in the fort aim to make it one of the world’s modern marvels. The organization has recognized the fort’s heritage value as a UNESCO World Heritage Site under criteria iv, citing its distinctive display of “an urban ensemble that illustrates the interaction of European architecture and South Asian traditions from the 16th to the 19th centuries.” Three times

Sri Lanka’s Galle Fort

James Emerson Tennent claims that King Solomon exported ivory, peacocks, and other luxuries from Tarshish’s old seaport at Galle. Given that the term “cinnamon” has Hebrew roots and was transported from Sri Lanka as early as 1400 BC, Galle might have served as a major seaport for the spices.

One of the most populous cities in southern Sri Lanka and a well-liked tourist attraction, it is about an hour’s drive from Colombo along the southern expressway. With its immaculate beaches, forested areas, lakes, rivers, diving and snorkeling spots, and water sports centers, it is a varied vacation spot. The best way to explore this intriguing tourist destination is to go on a south coast tour of Sri Lanka.

The Indian Ocean and the Galle Cricket Stadium, the most scenic cricket stadium on earth, surround the Galle Fort, the best-preserved colonial fort in Asia. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and features a wealth of 18th-century Dutch architecture. Enclosed by a massive granite wall, the mediaeval city is home to thousands of well-maintained Dutch residences that welcome hundreds of thousands of tourists each day. The majority of the fort’s construction has been transformed into stores, lodging facilities, galleries, museums, bars, and hotels.

Seerendipity excursions offers reasonably priced one-day excursions around Sri Lanka. Visit for a variety of other one-day programs offered in Sri Lanka, as well as other information.

What is Galle Fort’s size?

The total size of Galle Fort is 52 hectares, or 130 acres.

Galle, Sri Lanka

One of the interesting cities in Sri Lanka is Galle, which has a rich past that dates back to the time before Christianity. Above all, it boasts immaculate beaches bordered with palm trees and an abundance of history, nature, and culture! People in Galle, Sri Lanka, are known to be amiable, kind, and welcoming. Wonderful rainforests, marine reserves, and colonial castles with Dutch colonial ancestry are just a few of the many tourist attractions Galle, Sri Lanka, has to offer, catering to all travel tastes and price ranges. Due to its prominence in the southern region of Sri Lanka, Galle provides ample shopping options.

Because of its distinctive architecture, archaeologists consider Galle Fort to be a masterpiece of archaeology, much like the Jaffna fort in northern Sri Lanka. Among the region’s architectural highlights are the “horseshoe”-shaped windows and steep roofs with large verandahs, like the one found at Wolvendaal church in Galle. The elaborate designs, exquisite masks, delicate figures, and elaborate facades that adorn many of the structures are also noteworthy.

What is the location of Galle Fort ?

Located 118 kilometers south of the island’s commercial hub of Colombo is the lovely city of Galle in southern Sri Lanka. Galle has been recognized as a significant historical city and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This ancient city is situated next to some of Sri Lanka’s most stunning beaches. As a result, Galle is well-liked by both foreign and local tourists Also, the majority of travelers consider the Galle tour to be the key visit in the southern region of Sri-Lanka Presently, Galle read considered the most significant tourist destination. Thus, the travel planner is included in each and every tour itinerary as well

Eight key places visited on the Galle Tour

  • Dutch Reformed Church
  • Views from Galle
  • A one day tour on Eight locations in Galle
  • Galle Light house
  • Galle to Bentota and Colombo to Galle
  • Day tour from Bentota to Galle
  • palm-fringed beaches and old-world charm in Galle
  • A Galle Sightseeing tour of Galle

Galle fort tour

Venturing on a Galle City tour is the best way to explore this historical city. Galle City tours are in high demand from all of the island’s tourist resorts. A significant number of travelers start their Galle tour from Colombo. The Galle tour includes not only Dutch forts, but also other tourist attractions in the city. The tour encompasses numerous fascinating locations, including Bentota Beach, Hikkaduwa, Madu River Estuary, Moon Stone Mines, Mask Museum, and Spice/Herbal Garden. 

How can I get to Galle?

Because of the recently constructed southern expressway, Galle is one of the most accessible tourist destinations from Colombo. The highway has made it quite simple to travel to Galle from Colombo; it only takes an hour. A large number of Sri Lankan travel agencies, such as Seerendipity Tours, arrange daily trips to Galle from Colombo and coastal resorts. The majority of these day trips from Colombo to Galle not only allow you to experience Galle itself, but also dozens of other fascinating locations you come across on the way as well.

Galle Fort as a vacation spot

Like the majority of other beach vacation spots in Sri Lanka, Galle also provides a variety of inside-and outside-the-city tours. You can ask Seerendipity vacations for assistance if you’re having trouble planning your own Sri Lankan vacations. We frequently provide trips to Galle, Sri Lanka, as well as the majority of the country’s other tourist destinations. Participating in a visit to Galle, Sri Lanka, gives you the opportunity to experience the customs, literature, cuisine, art, and crafts, as well as another typical movement of the Galle people, that characterize the typical culture of southern Sri Lanka.

The Galle Fort read as a tourist destination

Every Galle day trip includes a visit to the Fort, the city’s most historically significant area. Situated on the gorgeous western flank of Sri Lanka’s southern province, the historic fortress of Galle rises more than a dozen meters from the sandy beaches like a golden castle. On three sides, water surrounds it, and on one, the mainland is accessible. Constructed starting in 1505, the expansive fortress watches over the tallest point between Galle city and the shoreline.

The Dutch Fort is the main tourist destination in Galle, Sri Lanka, and most Sri Lanka trip packages include a visit to this famous landmark. Whitewashed Dutch-style stores, homes, galleries, museums, and boutique hotels adorn the cobblestone walkways. There aren’t many locations on Earth like this colonial walled city. Nevertheless, colonial charm and Dutch architecture are just a small part of this UNESCO world heritage site.

What Role Does Galle Fort Play?

The region of South Asia’s best-preserved Dutch fort is Galle Fort. The fort’s tall wall divides off the older section of Galle City. The Indian Ocean encircles the headland on three of its sides, where the fort is situated. The Galle Fort’s rampart, which stretches over 2.5 kilometers, draws thousands of visitors from abroad in addition to locals. People stroll along the rampart in the evenings, taking in the pleasant scenery and calming Indian Ocean wind.

Since the beginning of trade, Galle has been a well-liked trade hub in the Orient. Galle holds great significance not just for Sri Lankan trade but also for the country’s history. The Old Testament states that King Solomon brought riches, including jewels, from Tarshish, which was located in Galle Harbour. The Dutch fort is the primary feature that has designated the city a UNESCO World Heritage Site, aside from historical and economic context. Dutch fort dates back to the 15th century and shows typical Old Dutch architecture and urban layout.

Galle Fort’s inception

The Portuguese arrival in 1505, is credited with the fort’s founding. A Portuguese fleet under Lorenzo de Almeida’s command made an unintentional landing at Galle due to a strong wind. The fleet was sailing towards the Maldives. Later in 1587, the Portuguese forcibly seized control of the prosperous trading port of Galle, limiting the Kandyan kings’ access to the coastal area.

Galle Fort under Dutch domination

The current size of the fort was increased with the entrance of the Dutch colonial overlords. The city gained a lot of new buildings with advanced subterranean sewage drainage systems. The majority of the ancient buildings have been in use for several centuries and are still in good shape.

The Dutch had the most influence on Galle town, Galle Fort, the harbor, and the local population, despite the English occupying the fort throughout the 1800s. The Old Dutch features of the town and Fort are still evident; Dutch names, buildings, and streets have hardly altered since the town’s founding. Some of the well-known names of the streets of the fort are Leyn Baan Street (Lijnbaan, which means rope walk in Dutch), Lighthouse Street (Zeeburg Street), and Great and Small Modarabaay Streets (Modderbaai).

British forces seized control of Dutch Fort.

The British seized control of the Dutch fort in 1796. The British made a few minor modifications to the fort, including adding a new entrance. Because it was more focused on Colombo than Galle, the British administration largely ignored the Dutch fort.  This is why, during the British rule, the city maintained its traditional Dutch monuments. It is still recognized as an important Dutch monument today. Currently, the Galle Heritage Foundation and the Archaeology Department are in charge of the fort.

What’s on display at Galle Fort?

  • The Rams Head
  • Galle National Museum
  • The National Museum of Maritime Art
  • The Church of All Saints
  • The Church of the Netherlands Reformed
  • The Natural Harbour of Galle
  • The Old Lighthouse
  • The British constructed the English Gate in 1873.
  • The Dutch gate has the VOC emblem engraved inside the masonry and the British Court of Arms etched on the exterior
  • The Dutch homes and prison
  • the former Dutch hospital and factory that is now a government office.

Galle and the Ramayana

The city’s history dates back to the pre-Christian era, based on historical evidence. The Ramayana is connected to the city’s earliest historical event. The Great Bases Lighthouse, which is perched atop a lone rock in the southeast sea of the island, is still referred to as Ravana’s fort, despite the Ramayana’s claim that the majority of Sri Lanka was drowned under the sea.


As a result of the Rama-Rawana battle, the southern border of the city is home to Rumassala Forest. Following Laxmana’s injury during the battle with Ravana, Rama commanded the Monkey God, Hanuman, to retrieve some medication from the Himalayas. Hanuman grabbed a piece of the Himalaya and flew back to the island since he couldn’t remember the names of the herbs. Rumassala is now regarded as a portion of the mountain that he brought back from India.

Is this the harbor at Galle, the ancient seaport Tarshish?

James Emerson Tennent claims that King Solomon imported ivory, peacocks, and other luxuries from Tarshish’s old seaport at Galle. Given that the term “cinnamon” has Hebrew roots and was transported from Sri Lanka as early as 1400 BC, Galle might have served as a major seaport for the spices. It had been an important trading port in the east, where a lot of merchants rushed in to exchange commodities. Galle Harbor had been a significant source of foreign exchange revenue for the nation in the early years through taxation. It is rumored that monarchs imposed heavy fees on the commerce ships that were docked in Galle.

Lorenzo De Almeida’s arrival in Galle

When the Portuguese commercial ship captained by Lorenzo de Almeida arrived unexpectedly in 1505, they were surprised to observe the booming port and the trading operations in the city. The Portuguese word Gallus is the source of the name Galle. According to the legend, a Portuguese ship was lost in a storm and drifted out to sea before coming ashore in southern Sri Lanka. A cock was heard from the land as the ship approached it, and someone yelled “Gallus Gallus.” Later, the term Gallus was changed to its current form, Galle.

The Dutch Fort is regarded as the best-preserved fortified city in Asia, constructed by European colonial powers.

The UNESCO world heritage site of Galle is the best-preserved walled city constructed in Asia by colonial rulers. The Portuguese took the initiative to build the Galle Fort since they ruled the island’s maritime area.

It had started out as a modest fortification manned by a small garrison. The Galle fort was extended by the Dutch when they seized control of the marine region, making it the largest fort in the nation. They transformed the fort into a fully functional city, complete with all the amenities. Even still, the majority of the structures have traditional Dutch architectural design, and the names of the streets, homes, and other structures are all in Dutch. The fort saw no notable alterations during British administration.

With significant cultural and historical significance, it is currently one of the top tourist destinations in southern Sri Lanka. Numerous churches, temples, and other places of worship can be found within the Dutch fort. In the fort, one may find a multitude of museums, street sellers, textile and jewelry stores, and souvenir shops. The fort can get crowded, especially on weekends and in the evenings when locals come to take advantage of the lovely, serene setting with its historic beauty.

Do we have to pay to enter Galle Fort?

The Galle Fort has no entrance. The Galle Municipal Council and the Archaeology Department are in charge of Galle Fort. It’s one of Galle’s most populated residential districts. However, because of its significance in both history and architecture, it draws thousands of tourists each day. None of the tourists must pay to access the Fort, despite its significance and popularity. But not all of the Fort’s tourist attractions, like the marine museum, require payment in order to enter. The majority of the major tourist attractions housed within Galle Fort are free of charge, and entry to the fort is free for all visitors. There are, however, just a few tourist destinations in the Fort that demand an admission fee, such as the Galle Maritime Museum.

When does the Galle Fort open?

Galle Fort is accessible around-the-clock. If you’re asking when is the best time to visit Galle Fort, the truth is that there isn’t one. Travelers frequently contact us via email to inquire about the best time of day to visit Galle Fort. The Fort is open for business twenty-four hours a day. Galle Fort is open to visitors at all hours of the day and is not subject to any rules regarding visiting hours. But I suggest visiting this lovely colonial city between 8 and 17 if you’re interested. Hotels, restaurants, bars, cafes, stores, galleries, and museums are all open during the day. During the day, strolling around the rampart is simple.

walking tour of Galle Fort

The term “Galle walking tour” usually refers to the walking tour of the Galle Fort, which is the city’s most popular tourist destination and has all the makings of a bustling metropolis. Your interest in seeing all of Galle Fort’s highlights will determine how long the walking tour lasts, which might be anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours.

The Fort has a winding boulevard made of cobblestones that is lined with hundreds of thousands of Dutch-built dwellings. Even though some of the structures are almost 200 years old, they are in excellent condition. A number of the buildings have been transformed into museums, bookstores, shops, and hotels so that visitors may spend time shopping for clothes, jewelry, jewels, and artifacts as well as enjoying delectable Sri Lankan cuisine.

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