Galle

Galle, a coastal town situated in the southwest region of Sri Lanka, is 119km south of Colombo and can be accessed through the Galle road or the southern expressway. Galle is the administrative capital of the southern province. Located in the coastal region, along with the stretch of amazing beaches to follow such as the Mirissa Bay beach and the Tangalle Bay Beach, you will find that Galle is a delightful place to start off your exploration of the southern coastal towns and beaches. Blessed with the exotic Dutch fortress and many other Dutch colonial structures, Galle is one such place that you can explore on foot. The name Galle originated from the Sinhala word ‘’Gaalla’’ because numerous bullock carts used this town as the resting point during their journey across other remote areas. Historically Galle was known to be a center of trade all thanks to its strategic location in the Indian Ocean, between India, Arabia and Southeast Asia. In the past it has been said that traders from Egypt, Arabia, South India, Malaysia, Persia, Singapore and Eastern China converged in Galle with vessels laden with foreign merchandize and they used to barter their good with the locals in exchange for spices, grains, pearls, gems and ivory. According to the words of Sir James Emerson Tennant the town of Galle is the ‘’Tarshish’’ that has been mentioned in the Bible, from where King Solomon obtained the jewel that could win him the heart of Queen Sheba. The Galle fort is one of the main attractions of the area, and the reason why the town of Galle was included in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1988. Initially built by the Portuguese in the 1588 as a single wall fronted by a moat, this was later fortified by the Dutch from the year 1640 onwards to bring about the fort that still stands tall today. A monument of significant interest in the Fort is the Dutch reformed church or Groote Kerk. Built in 1755 by the Commander of Galle, Casparus de Jong and his wife Geertruyda Adriana Le Grand, as a thanksgiving for the birth of their long awaited child, this church is located at the highest point of the Galle Fort, 12m above sea level. Other sites of interest include the Dutch museum that houses several paintings, documents and ceramics from the Dutch colonial era and the Galle Lighthouse, or Pointe de Galle Light as it is also known. This is an onshore lighthouse and the very first one built in Sri Lanka back in 1848 by the British. Merely 6km away from the town of Galle you find one of the Islands best bay beach resorts, Unawatuna. With it’s turquoise blue waters and palm lined beaches, this bay beach is a popular spot for tourists. The amazing hospitality int the form of luxurious hotels and resorts, adds value to it. The bay is ideal for water sports such as swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving and even wreck diving. The reef at Unawatuna is said to shelter more species of aquatic life than the Great Barrier Reef, and is one of the reason why this bay is considered as one of the best in the world.

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