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City of Galle Tour

Duration: Full Day

city of galle tour

For those interested in the architecture, culture and history of Sri Lanka’s beautiful southern coast, this fascinating tour of the ancient port town of Galle and surrounding areas is a must. Unfortunately, many of the town and villages on this coast were destroyed during the devastating 2004 tsunami, but Sri Lanka has slowly rebuilt itself, relying heavily on tourism. This tour is a wonderful way to show your support and appreciation for this beautiful country and its people.

After breakfast in your beachside hotel, your day will begin with a leisurely drive along the coast to the historic Dutch fortress city of Galle. On the way we will visit a number of attractions such as the Turtle hatchery at Kosgoda, which was virtually destroyed and then rebuilt after the 2004 tsunami. Turtle eggs are kept safe here from predators until they are ready to hatch and the babies are then released into the sea when they are only a few days old. We will also visit the village of Ambalangoda, famous for its devil dancing and traditional mask-making, which is an important part of Sri Lanka’s culture. The last stop before reaching Galle is the Hikkaduwa Marine Sanctuary, one of the most respected and popular coral reef destinations on the island.

We finally arrive at Galle, situated on the south-western tip of Sri Lanka. This picturesque coastal town is steeped in history and is a fascinating place to explore. Galle was actually known as Gimhathiththa before the arrival of the Portuguese in the 16th century. It was once the main port on the island and is still a significant port for hundreds of modern vessels today. At the heart of Galle’s history is the imposing 17th century Dutch fort, the largest remaining fortress in Asia built by European invaders.  This magnificent structure was originally erected by the Portuguese to defend themselves from attacks by Sri Lankan kingdoms, but it was later captured and improved by the Dutch in the middle of the 17th century, and a city was built inside the fortified walls. The fort is an important archaeological reserve and was declared an UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988.

The relaxed Dutch atmosphere is still prominent in Galle today. Many of the colonial buildings and historic structures dating back to the Dutch and British periods of rule are still standing, giving the town a unique charm like no other city in Sri Lanka. Galle is the finest example of a fortified city built by Europeans in South and South-East Asia which successfully blends European architectural styles with South Asian traditions. Aside from the fort, other places of interest include the Dutch Reformed Church, the Dutch Museum, St Mary's Cathedral and the Museum of Folk Art and Culture. Four years after the tsunami, the town shows no sign of the devastation caused, although a statue was erected at the entrance of the city’s bus station in memory of the victims.

 

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