An Overview of Galle
Situated along the island’s southern coast is the quant coastal town known as Galle. Set against azure blue waters, this charming city exudes an old-world charm with its colonial architecture and influences.
And at the heart of the city lies the historic Galle Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that beckons locals and foreigners alike with its timeless charm. However, that’s not all that Galle has to offer. Galle has everything from picturesque cobblestone streets lined with vibrant and chic cafes to boutiques, historical attractions, sacred sites, and sandy beaches, making Galle the pride of the South.
With an abundance of culture, history, and natural beauty, a trip to sunny Galle is sure to deliver unforgettable memories and experiences.
History of Galle
One glance at the city of Galle is a testament to its fascinating history and colonial influence. However, the tales of this city extend far beyond the arrival of its European colonisers. The natural harbour off the coast of Galle is believed to have been an important trading port for centuries, attracting merchants from Arabs, Persia, Greece, China, and more. Owing to the strategic location of the harbour along the trade routes and the abundance of natural resources on the island, the city of Galle flourished as a multicultural city.
Interestingly, claims have been made that Galle is the biblical city referred to as Tarshish, a city that has been linked to the tales of King Solomon. According to historical accounts, it is from Tarshish that King Solomon obtained gold, ivory, spices, gems, and peacocks, all of which were key trading goods of Sri Lanka at the time.
Having stumbled upon Galle by accident en route to the Maldives, the port of Galle captured the attention of the Portuguese colonisers as a strategic and economic stronghold. This then led to the fortification of the city by the Portuguese. However, remnants of Portuguese constructions are scarce today because it was the Dutch who further fortified, developed, and built a well-planned city. While the Galle Fort eventually fell into the hands of the British and minor modifications were made, the architecture you see as you walk around the Galle Fort is mainly from the Dutch colonial era.
Serving as a reminder of Sri Lanka’s troubled yet vivid colonial past, whispering tales of the bygone era, this city is widely regarded as one of the best examples of a fortified city.
Culture and Community
With a rich and diverse culture, the coastal town of Galle is full of life. And this is reflected through the demography of Galle. Galle’s melting pot of inhabitants comprises a diverse and colourful mix of Sinhalese, Moors, Malays, Tamils, and Burghers, each contributing their unique heritage to the city’s charm.
Steeped in history, owing to the country’s colonial past, Galle echoes whispers of bygone eras through remnants of Portuguese, Dutch, and British influences on culture, traditions, and architecture.
It’s a place where history and modernity seamlessly blend in, adding to the city’s unique atmosphere and making it an enchanting destination.
Experiences in Galle
Galle is an exciting destination to visit, with a wide variety of attractions and things to do. From a number of stunning beaches to historic sites, an iconic international cricket stadium, and rainforests, Galle has a lot to offer.
Step back in time and immerse yourself in the rich history and culture of the town with a visit to the Galle Fort. Resembling an Old European town, you’ll be transported to bygone eras as you walk along the cobblestone streets that offer glimpses of the Dutch and British influences. Explore the old churches, Buddhist temples, and mosques, and take a stroll along the fort ramparts. Be sure to watch the sky explode into colour during sunset on the Fort’s wall while you’re at it.
After taking in the ancient splendour of the fort, make your way over to the stunning beaches on the southern coast. From the picturesque Unawatuna Beach to the secluded Jungle Beach and serene expanse of Koggala Beach, many beautiful beaches exist in and around Galle. Whether you want to take a refreshing dip or soak in the sun, Galle is a coastal haven that caters to your needs.
Want to seek refuge in the unique natural beauty of Galle? Embark on an adventure to explore Rumassala Hill. Home to endemic species of flora and fauna and hiking trails, legend has it that this hill was dropped out of the sky from neighbouring India. For truly immersive experiences, you can also explore the Kanneliya Rain Forest, Kottawa Forest Reserve, and the Hiyare Reservoir Rainforest.
No visit to Galle is complete if you don’t indulge your taste buds in the eclectic culinary experience the city offers, Home to a number of quirky cafes and impressive restaurants serving delectable food and cuisine from Sri Lankan to Italian, Galle offers an incredible culinary experience that will leave you craving for more.
Whether you are looking for a beach experience, heritage experience, nature experience, or a foodie experience, this coastal town has got you covered! With its rich history, culture, nature, and culinary delights, Galle promises an unforgettable experience.
So don’t forget to check out this remarkable city when you visit Sri Lanka and let the wonders and charm of Galle captivate your heart.