Sri Lanka is an island in the Indian Ocean with a rich cultural heritage, making it a wonderful place to tour around. Magnificent lush landscapes only add to the interest, and everyone from couples to families will have a wonderful time. Whether you want to unwind, do lots of activities or enhance your culture, Sri Lanka has something for you.
Sri Lanka is mostly renowned for its amazing cultural heritage. Between history and tradition, you will discover true wondersall along your trip. Although the Cultural Triangle attracts many tourists, other cities such as Galle are just as important. This south-western city is on the spice road and it’s one of the oldest cities on the island. Galle has a rich colonial past which contributes greatly to its charm.
History of Galle, a special city in Sri Lanka
Galle used to be the main port in Sri Lanka. Here trade was omnipresent, with the sale of spices and precious gems. Then Galle became an iconic fortified city, built by the Europeans. The original fortifications, for instance, were built by the Portuguese. Walk around the streets of Galle and you will see different architectural styles from Europe, mingled with Asian influences. The Fort and the fortifications of this old city are now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Galle is also the largest fortress in Asia.
Originally Galle’s population was mostly of Arab origin, since the Arabs were settled there for four centuries. In 1507 the Portuguese arrived in Ceylon, particularly in Galle. They built the fortifications, extended by the Dutch a few years later. Many of the city’s streets include remnants of the island’s colonial past, particularly showing the Portugueseand Dutch influences.
Things to do in Galle
Galle is a city known for its colonial remains: in fact wandering around the streets is like travelling back in time. Yet there are many other sights that should not to be missed.
– The “Groote Kerk” was built in 1640. Also called the “Great Church”, it was the first Protestant church built on the island. This is where the body of Dutch Commander Hulft was taken shortly after he got killed during the siege of Colombo in 1656. Opposite the church stand its detached belfry, built in 1701, and the former Dutch Governor’s residence.
– The National Museum is housed in one of the city’s oldest Dutch buildings. It displays a wide range of archaeological and anthropological objects and sculptures.
– Galle’s seafront ramparts make for a lovely walk. You can admire the fortifications and the bastions of the old city, all the way to the tall white lighthouse. This walk also affords spectacular views of the sea.
These are only three of the various visits you can do in this historic city, and there are many other outings around Galle. You can choose to go to the tourist resort ofUnawatuna, a nice place to go for a swim with the children, or if you prefer you can go scuba diving in Hikkaduwa to see wonderful coral gardens. Galle also makes a good base for a variety of excursions, such as the nearby Yala National Park and Dodanduwa Lagoon.
The whole of Sri Lanka, just like Galle, is steeped in history. The island’s exceptional cultural heritage will ensure that you have an extraordinary trip filled with discoveries. Whether as a couple or as a family, this will be the holiday of a lifetime.