GALLE FORT - UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE
The port city of Galle is not only of historical interest but is also the business centre of the South of Sri Lanka.
This is the right place if you want to experience the Sinhalese culture - away from the touristic hot spots without losing the holiday atmosphere.
Galle was known as Gimhathiththa (although Ibn Batuta in the 14th century refers to it as Qali) before the arrival of the Portuguese in the 16th century, when it was the main port on the island. Galle reached the height of its development in the 18th century - before the arrival of the British - who moved the main port to Colombo.
Galle is the best example of a fortified city built by Europeans in South and Southeast Asia, showing the interaction between European
architectural styles and south Asian traditions. The Galle Fort is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the largest remaining fort
in Asia built by European invaders. Other prominent landmarks in Galle include St. Mary's Cathedral founded by Jesuit priests.
You can spend hours exploring the famous Dutch fort, go shopping at one of the oldest markets in Sri Lanka and the modern shopping complexes, or you can enjoy the feeling of "the good old days" at one of the colonial-style hotels and restaurants.
Over the last few years Galle has become very "boutique" with beautiful, perfectly restored colonial houses and estates. If you really want to get cosseted on your holiday in Sri Lanka, a couple of days in Galle should be on your list.