As mentioned in an earlier blog entry, Brad and I did a day trip by train to the city of Galle on the southern coast of Sri Lanka.
Galle ( ගාල්ල in Sinhala), with about 100000 inhabitants, is just 75 miles from Colombo. It has a protected, natural harbor and was for centuries the port of entry to Sri Lanka. Galle was reportedly already mentioned in 1400 BC mainly because of the spice trade, particularly cinnamon. Even the Chinese managed to get to Galle around 1400 AD under Admiral Zheng He. However it was the Dutch in 1663 who left a lasting mark on the city by building the "Fort". In 1796 the British kicked out the Dutch and took over, leaving the Fort unchanged.
Basically it is the Fort why tourists come to Galle. It is a splendid example of Dutch colonial architecture intermixing with South Asian building traditions and is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It was very badly damaged by the tsunami on the 26th of December 2004. The Sri Lankan government has since rebuilt most of it.
The Fort is a short walk from the Galle train station. If one desires one can take one of the many tuk-tuks waiting in front of the station. But do agree on a fare before getting into the vehicle.
The Fort is still the administrative center for the city of Galle. The courts are there, as is the headquarters of the local Sri Lanka police detachment, as well as the Galle city offices. There are quite a few cafés and restaurants. The place is touristy and is apparently swamped during high season. Brad and I were there during the off season, so it was not too bad.
Following are some photographs of Galle Fort:
All photographs by Brad Wing (Sony RX-100) and Ralf Meier (Sony RX-10) unless otherwise noted.