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Galle Fort, Galle Overview

The Galle Fort, located on the southern coast of the country, is one of the five historical monuments which one must visit when in Sri Lanka. The fort was initially built by the Portuguese and was later modified by the Dutch. Today the Galle Fort is also declared as a UNESCO World Heritage site and is a stunning blend of architecture, archaeology and history amidst a beautiful tropical setting.

The Galle Fort attracts many tourists and locals not just because of its historical appeal but the buzzing life inside the monument with lively shops and cafes, museums, villas and lifestyle shops to complete your experience. You can visit all these places by taking a walk through the beautiful structures, which is always open and also free of cost. If you have some extra time to spare, do go through the walls by the perimeter, where you will find several stairs which will lead you up to it.

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Things to Do at Galle Fort

1. National Maritime Museum (Maritime Archaeology Museum)
The city of Halle has long been a port in Sri Lanka, which increases the importance of this museum. The museum beautifully depicts the transitions in navigation from the past to the present and eventually, the future. The museum holds a decent amount of exhibits ranging from model boat ships found at sea ancient amphora, coins, bronzes, anchors, statues, cannons and so on. The entrance fee for the museum is approximately 650 SLR, and the timings are from 7:00 am to 6:00 pm.

2. National Museum
The National Museum is somewhat similar to a museum but is a small structure with a display of exhibits which include traditional masks, lace, luxury items, religious items, and the like. The exciting thing about the museum is that the Galle Port received all these items. The entrance fee is 300 SLR, and the timings are from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.

3. Dutch Reformed Church
The present building is a result of rebuilding and renovations which took place in the year 1752, although the church was initially built in the year 1650. On the ground floor of the church, you will spot some old tombstones with European graves, along with the Church organ. The entry to the church is free of cost, and they welcome any donations. Further, the church is open during the daytime on all days.

4. All Saints Church
The All Saints Church is a well-built structure which is located just opposite the Maritime Archaeology Museum and was originally built in the year 1871 by the Anglican community. The church has beautiful and well-maintained interiors due to the generous donations they receive. The entry to the church is free of cost, and they are welcome contributions. Further, the church is open during the daytime on all days.

5. Historic Mansion
One of the most exciting places in the Galle Fort is the Historic Mansion. The Historic Mansion is a combination of a museum, jewellery and antique store- all in one. After taking a tour of the place, you would be encouraged to make a purchase. You can choose from a wide variety of antiques and jewellery to bring back as a souvenir. The entrance to the mansion is free of cost; however, you are welcome to buy something from the stores. Further, the mansion is open during the daytime on all days.

6. The Galle Lighthouse
One of the major attractions of Galle is the famous Galle Lighthouse. The lighthouse offers you breathtaking and picturesque views of the bay and one of the most photogenic places of the Galle. The entrance is free of cost, and it functions round the clock.

7. The Meera Mosque

The Meera Mosque has a unique architectural design which is a blend of European Catholic cathedrals and Islamic domes. The outside of the mosque is more magnificent as compared to its interiors, which is quite ordinary. The entry is free of cost, and you can visit the mosque at any time, except for the prayer time when non-Muslims are denied entry to the mosque.

8. Catch the spectacular sunrise at Galle Fort

History of the Galle Fort

The modern history of the Galle Fort begins from the year 1502. At this time, a small fleet of Portuguese ships arrived which were swayed off by the storm. Since then, the fort was managed by the Portuguese and used as a prison camp for the Sinhalese who went against them. Later, the Portuguese were attacked by the Dutch who took over the city and made the Galle Fort with sand, mud, and palm trees.

The fort was later taken over by the British in the year 1796 after they captured the capital city of Colombo and it remained under the British rule until the country got independence in the year 1948.  Further, the importance of Galle as a city also reduced after the British declared Colombo as the capital.

Local Market at Galle

Visit the Galle vegetable market, where one can find many different types of exotic and delicious fruits to indulge. Grab a fresh drink at the King Coconut stand and buy some local sweetmeats to snack on the way. You will also find many different kinds of herbs and spices displayed beautifully. Some of the exotic fruits and vegetables include Banana Blossom, Breadfruit, Jak, Egg Plant, Drumsticks and Snake Gourd.

How To Reach Galle Fort

You can easily access Galle from Unawatuna by boarding a bus or taking a tuk-tuk, which should not charge you more than 200-500 SLR. The Galle Fort is a short walk from the bus station or the train station.

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