Described as a living time capsule, Galle is located on the south western tip of Sri Lanka, and is 119km from Colombo. Locally, Galle is known as Gimhathiththa, and reached its height of development in the 18th century (during the Dutch colonial period). Galle was built by the Portuguese and therefore shows the interaction between Portuguese architectural styles and native traditions.
Galle is the most important town in the south and has retained much of its colonial atmosphere. Originally occupied by the Portuguese in the 16th century, who apparently named Galle on hearing a cock crow which is ‘Galo’ in Portuguese. The town passed to the Dutch in 1640 who built the impressive fort, before ceding the town to the British in 1796. Much of the trading then went to Colombo, which meant that Galle has grown into a relaxed and pleasant town. This intriguing town is also the home of the Galle International Stadium cricket ground – making it a favourite with cricket-lovers!
Built by the Dutch in 1663, the Galle Fort is a Unesco World Heritage Site and a prominent feature of the headland that makes up the older part of Galle. The fort offers visitors the chance to see an amazing collection of structures and culture dating back through the centuries, and boasts dramatic views over the town and ocean.
Located within the Galle Fort, visitors can see exhibits from marine artefacts found underwater. These include: maps, naval craft, artillery guns and sailor shoes. Most of these artefacts were recovered from shipwrecks off the Southern coast, some of which are nearly 800 years old.
The iconic St Mary's cathedral in Galle is a cathedral church of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Galle. Built at the end of the 19th century, the cathedral offers visitors a totally unique cultural experience which is based at the heart of the Catholics of Sri Lanka.
The spectacular Kalutara temple is set within beautiful scenery, and offers visitors a cultural and eye opening visit. The view from the Peace Pagoda on a clear day and after sunset is stunning. Don’t forget to make a donation and say a prayer at Seenigama temple for good luck!
Situated in Habaraduwa, in the Southern part of Sri Lanka in the Galle district, is an impressive turtle farm which has worked wonders in the way of conservation for these charming creatures. The turtle farm is maintained for the survival of Sea Turtles for the next generation, and has so far released more than 500,000 Sea Turtles into the ocean.