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“You can't visit Galle and not visit Galle Fort”
Review of Galle Fort

Galle Fort
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Ranked #2 of 61 things to do in Galle
Certificate of Excellence
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Owner description: Galle Fort: a journey to the past... See the remnants of a Dutch past at a World Heritage Site. Galle has been the emporium of foreign trade since the dawn of commerce. The Dutch Fort, which has been declared a World Heritage Site, surrounds the older part of the town and is situated on a headland of which three sides overlook the sea. The ramparts of the Fort are over 2.5 Km in circumference and provide a pleasant and interesting walk. The historian Sir Emerson Tennant claimed that Galle was the ancient biblical city of Tarshish. This city is said to have traded with King Solomon, the Persians and the Egyptians. In 1505 a Portuguese fleet led by Lorenzo de Almeida heading for the Maldives drifted accidentally into Galle. It is said that on hearing a cock crowing (cock means "Galo" in Portuguese) they gave the town its name. Another explanation for the name is from the Sinhala name for rock 'Gala', plenty of which are found in the harbour area. When the Portuguese arrived the town was already a thriving trader's port and an entrenched settlement in the lowland territory of the Kandyan Kings. It was however not until 1587 when the Portuguese were able to control Galle. The Dutch then arrived, overthrew the Portuguese and took control of Sri Lanka in 1640. It was the Dutch who had a major impact on Galle and the town still retains its characteristic Dutch architecture, the streets differing little from the times of Dutch occupation. There is Leyn Baan Street (Lijnbaan meaning rope walk in Dutch), Lighthouse Street previously known as Zeeburg Street) and Great and Small Streets Modderbaai meaning mud bay). The Galle Fort built by the Dutch in 1663 was handed over to the British in 1796 'in a state of complete repair' as certified by the officer taking charge. The British did not alter Galle as they concentrated their efforts on Colombo. Therefore the Fort remains a significant monument from the Dutch era.
Useful Information: Activities for older children, Activities for young children, Wheelchair access, Food available for purchase
Reviewed January 22, 2013

I spent my first day in Sri Lanka walking around Galle Fort. I had no map or guide book and I just wandered. It was wonderful. I recommend going early though, I went mid day and it was HOT! I recommend a hat or umbrella to shade yourself (I had neither, stupid!). Don't miss the Lighthouse, how could you? Walk along the ramparts...and just get 'lost' in the little alleys while checking out different galleries, shops etc. Have lunch at Amangalle if you're not staying there.

1  Thank Audley17
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,636 - 1,640 of 2,341 reviews

Reviewed January 20, 2013

Steeped in European history, this is a great place to wander. Walk along the ramparts and take in the view.

Thank EPGilbert
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 19, 2013

Recommend to guests staying at Villa to included in their holiday itinerary a visit
To Galle Fort with its fabulous hotels , Gem stores , old churches , museums
And wonderful colonial mansions ,wander around the ramparts as sun goes down
leave time for sundowners and dinner in its many restaurants

Guests are always impressed with its architecture, not to missed ,

Pleased to review Asanka

Thank villakos26
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 18, 2013

Galle has a long, mottled and unique history - when viewed from a Sri-Lankan perspective but not necessarily from a global stage. Its a very old, romantic and weathered harbour fort with clear indications of ramparts and cannon placements. It even has a cool story of being over-run with Dutch and local forces.
As a whole site, however, it's probably an even bet to relax in your hotel lobby/restaurant/poolbar and drink than go out of your way to visit the fort. We did the whole thing on hoof in about 90mins including an ice coffee, some candid photos and a scare from a Cobra, Python and Monkey.
Definitely visit the old Dutch Church and then grab a drink and a wander through the former Dutch Captain's residence (now the Amangalla Hotel).

1  Thank Dylan S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 16, 2013

I must be missing everything that other reviewers have posted, but for me its just a old stone wall with crashing waves. Nice view admittedly, but not much else.

Walk around the perimeter wasn't that great.

2  Thank lady_well_travelled
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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