Charming and full of history; Galle Fort is a must-see in Sri Lanka. Galle Fort is a fort built during the 15th – the 16th century and is nowadays used as a place for shopping, restaurants, cafes, souvenir shops, spas, etc. The Fort is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is visited by many travelers and locals because of its charm.
A Brief Summary of the History of Galle Fort
Galle Fort is a fortification first built by the Portugese on the southwestern coast of Sri Lanka. Galle was the place where the portugese arrived to in te early 15th century, they used their alliance with the king of the time and made notable changes in the area – for example building the fort and a chapel. The Portugese later moved to Colombo where they started up a base but was forced to return to Galle when the base got attacked by the King.
The fort was later used as a prison camp until it fell into the hands of the Dutch. The Sinhalese King was desparate to get rid of the Portugese and therefore helped the Dutch to get Galle in their possession in the year of 1640. They continued to make fotifications to improve the fort as it was used as their main base for more than a hundred years. In 1796 the Dutch lost Galle to the British at the time of the British colonization of Sri Lanka.
The fort was for a long time used as a place for trading and as a main base. Today, Galle has a multi-ethnic and multi-religious population of 100, 000 people.
At the time we stayed in Unawatuna, we made a day trip to Galle on one of the most cloudy and rainy days. It only takes approximatly 30 minutes with tuktuk from Unawatuna to Galle. We walked around the fort and looked in all of the different shops, bought some souvenirs to our Christmas game and booked massage appointments. Galle is the perfect place to visit on the more cloudy days.
I can guarantee that spending some cash is not a difficult task when strolling around here. There’s plenty of shops and your biggest worry will probably be how to fit it all into the suitcase.. But you’ll also have multiple cute restaurants, shacks, and cafes in your eyesight! A nice variety of both established ones and private family bussiness home cooking. We ate lunch at a privately owned small pancake and juice shack called Abacate. My brother and I ate their delicious banana pancakes with a banana and chocolate milkshake!
Siripal is the name of the man who owns this place and he was super friendly and talkative. He told us about the controversies after the Islamic terrorist suicide bombing in Colombo at easter 2019. And how he and a lot of other people he knows have a hard time trusting Muslims in the area. He told us – “We are friendly to each other, but we have a hard time trusting. Which is sad.”
Something I gave Sri Lanka cred for in my post Releasing Baby Turtles Into The Ocean was how I found Sri Lanka to be very considerate about their usage of plastics, especially plastic straws. I think their close connection with sea turtles and how badly they get affected by plastic straws has made the locals find other alternatives. Lots of people use bamboo, both fresh and dried. Here’s a picture of an iced coffee I bought because you know I’m a sucker for iced coffee (It was so good! thanks for asking).
As you can see the mug is plastic but the straw is fresh bamboo. I love seeing how we humans make progress when you can see that someone does care. This is a relatively small thing and the mug is still in plastic but you know, it’s still something. Better than before, still an improvement. If everyone made the choice of only having bamboo straws – that would probably make a big difference since according to an article from National Geographics it was estimated last year that as many as 8.3 billion plastic straws pollute the world’s beaches!
We later checked out the beautiful lighthouse and me, my grandma and my aunt went to get our massage appointments before heading home. I really recommend visiting Galle Fort while staying in the south of Sri Lanka. It’s so worth visiting and it’s definitely a perfect day trip for everyone – elderlies, families, and nomads. Especially perfect on a rainy day when you’re not able to tan on the beach.
Hope you liked this post and lets chat in the comments down below!
Happy Travels & stay safe and healthy,
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