Old Town of Galle and its Fortifications

Old Town of Galle and its Fortifications

Galle Fort, in the Bay of Galle on the southwest coast of Sri Lanka, was built first in 1588 by the Portuguese, then extensively fortified by the Dutch during the 17th century from 1649 onwards. It is a historical, archaeological and architectural heritage monument, which even after more than 423 years maintains a polished appearance, due to extensive reconstruction work done by Archaeological Department of Sri Lanka.

The fort has a colourful history, and today has a multi-ethnic and multi-religious population. The Sri Lankan government and many Dutch people who still own some of the properties inside the fort are looking at making this one of the modern wonders of the world. The heritage value of the fort has been recognized by the UNESCO and the site has been inscribed as a cultural heritage UNESCO World Heritage Site under criteria iv, for its unique exposition of “an urban ensemble which illustrates the interaction of European architecture and South Asian traditions from the 16th to the 19th centuries.”

The Galle Fort, also known as the Dutch Fort or the “Ramparts of Galle”, withstood the Boxing Day tsunami which damaged part of coastal area Galle town. It has been since restored. The Galle Fort also houses the elite Amangalla resort hotel, located near the Dutch Reformed Church. It was originally built in 1684 to house the Dutch Governor and his staff. It was then converted into a hotel and named then as the New Oriental Hotel in 1865, which catered to the European passengers traveling between Europe and Galle Port in the 19th century.

Outline
Galle Fort, in the Bay of Galle on the southwest coast of Sri Lanka, was built first in 1588 by the Portuguese, then extensively fortified by the Dutch during the 17th century from 1649 onwards.

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