Full of old-world charm, colonial history and stunning architecture, the Dutch Fort in Galle is truly a spectacle to behold. Within its ramparts and imposing stonewalls, timeless cobbled streets lined with colonial villas and buildings, criss-cross the fort surprising visitors as they stumble upon unique treasures at every corner. Originally built by the Portuguese, with mud and no ramparts near the sea, it was heavily fortified by the Dutch who encircled the entire peninsula with high granite and coral walls, 14 bastions and a deep moat that surround the two main gates. After the British claimed it as the southern headquarters, they sealed the moat, constructed houses and the lighthouse, added another gate and built a tower in commemoration of the jubilee of Queen Victoria.
Several museums and shops display relics from the island’s colonial era and there are significant historical buildings like the Dutch Reformed Church, which contains the tombs of Dutch officials and carved memorials on the walls; and the All Saints Church with its Gothic architecture. Ancient monuments within the historic fort include the Lighthouse, the clock tower, the Meera Mosque and the Buddhist Temple. Some of the best Hotels in Galle are located inside and around the fort, like the Closenberg Hotel for example. The boutique hotels stand out in former villas that have been lovingly restored to their original glory, the most famed of which is the Governor’s House, built in 1684 for the then Dutch Governor, the house has now been converted to a 5-star hotel.
Recognised as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, the Fort also holds the distinction of being the best-preserved sea fort in South Asia. The Dutch Fort with its ruins, hotels, monuments and most importantly, the communities that live within the walls, have much to offer to visitors who come to discover the many secrets hidden within.
Caleb Falcon is a travel writer who specializes in writing content based on the many exciting world adventures that await intrepid travellers.
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