Holding the fort !
On very quiet nights you will hear the ocean breath, softly, telling the stories of a history richer than most, and as the golden beam of the lighthouse cuts across the sky and illuminates the buildings you see the wonder that is the Galle Fort. Built by the Portuguese and the Dutch conquerors of Ceylon, the fort is nestled at the edge of an ocean, an idyllic and romantic location to be sure; walking through the either of the historical gates will plunge you into the old-world charm of architecture, traditions and amazing stories that never seem to end.
Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the history of the fort traces back to the occupation of the Portuguese, who first set foot in Galle in search of riches and spices in 1505. The Portuguese did not stay for long and moved to Colombo for a better stronghold on the Island; but as events unfolded they were driven back to Galle by King Rajasinghe the first, where they built the first fort there which included three bastions and a watchtower. The Fort was later taken by the Dutch with the help of King Rajasinghe II in 1640, and rebuilt in Dutch baroque style, which stands true right to the present day.
Walking in to the fort today you will find it taken over by shops and tourists, walking in a taking in the
rich history of the fort. You can take a lazily stroll on the ramparts or take a dip in any the sea by the
fort, which due to the reef barrier is almost like a swimming pool. There is a great variety of food, and
beverages and personalities for you to sample.
The cobbled streets of the fort will present to you a range of restaurants and shops that will cater to your every mood; from Crepes to Galle delicacies, from clothing to knick knacks, there is not much you won’t be able to find there. Explore the ramparts that run along the entire fort, and learn about the great histories of every stone and boulder with guided tours that illuminate and entertain, and then sit back in the fulfilled evening with a cold beverage and the sound of the ocean.
The Galle Fort is indeed a treasure, but a treasure worth not only discovering but sharing. Old
Pentecostal Churches and converted houses are open for your wonderment and everywhere you go you
will see smiles and welcoming gestures. The Galle Fort truly is, truly, a heritage and something more
than words can ever describe – it is an experience that will bring pleasure and serenity to all those who
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