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Fort Galle, Sri Lanka

Fort Galle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of Sri Lanka’s main attractions. The construction has an ancient and interesting history.

It is not possible to find out the exact date of the construction of fortification walls and towers. It is believed that the first fortress was built by the Arabs 2000 years ago, then in 1588 the Portuguese rebuilt it, who arrived on the island in search of new trade opportunities, in the 17th century the Dutch pressed them to declare Sri Lanka their colony. In the 19th century, the appearance of the fort was changed by the British.

Video walk along the walls of the fort:

Today, Fort Galle is a district of the same named port city. Surrounded by walls are cafes, shops, museums, a hotel, banks and even a market. The narrow streets and houses of the colonial period invite you to plunge into the atmosphere of bygone years.


Galle is approximately 166 km from Colombo and 140 km from the international airport. There are several ways to get to the resort:

Simple, fast, but expensive. The trip will cost about 100 USD. Travel time is 3 hours.

You can also get to Galle by train or bus, but with a mandatory change in Colombo, regardless of the option chosen.

There is a bus stop near the airport terminal. Take bus number 187. There are bus stops at the Colombo Railway Station, followed by the Colombo Bus Station.

There are many buses to Halle from the bus station. The schedule is convenient, so you won’t have to wait long. Travel time is about 4 hours. Ticket price depends on the comfort of transport.

A ticket for a regular bus without an air conditioner, crowded with locals, costs a little more than 60 LKR, for a comfortable trip with air conditioning you will have to pay 150 LKR, and for a minibus – all 295 LKR.

You can catch a bus to Halle not only at the bus station, but also at any stop along Galle Road. It is part of the A2 highway, which leads to the resort.

A train
About 10 trains are available daily. Travel time is approximately 4 hours. Such a trip will appeal to lovers of exotics and thrills. The ticket price is determined by the class of train. Grade 3 – 100 LKR, 2 – 200 LKR, 1 – 350 LKR.

The fort itself is located near the central Galle bus station, about a 10-minute walk, so you won’t have to look for it for a long time. Entrance is through the main gate in the wall.

Entrance to the fort is free. If at the gate you meet a Sri Lankan who asks to buy an entrance ticket or says that today the fort is closed for visits and offers to take you to explore other cultural and historical places – pass by and do not pay attention to the scammer.

New Oriental Hotel
This is not only the oldest hotel in Sri Lanka, but also throughout Asia. The colonial-style building was built in 1864 as a residence for the Dutch governor. Today the official’s house has turned into a hotel, which has undergone practically no changes either inside or outside. The cost of rooms in it is somewhat overpriced, but rich tourists are willing to overpay for living in an old mansion on the territory of a monument of world significance.

The entrance is free.
In the eastern part of the fort is the Utrecht bastion. At its peak in 1848, a lighthouse was erected with a height of 24.5 m. It was of great strategic importance – it indicated the way for ships in a difficult bay from the point of view of navigation. As a result of a severe fire in 1934, the lighthouse collapsed. Only in 1939 a new one appeared in its place. It is a white rounded tower, whose height is a little more than 26 m and a diameter of 47 m. The flash illuminates the night sky every 10 seconds.

Entrance – depends on the mood of the caretaker and the time of year. In the low season – 350-300 LKN per person, in the high bar can rise up to 800 LKN. Bargaining is always appropriate.

The tower with a height of 40 m is part of the bastion, built during the reign of the Dutch in 1640-1663. Once it played the role of a lighthouse, past which travelers sailed, entering the port through the city gates. Over time, the need for a navigation light source disappeared, and a clock with a Roman dial was installed on the top of the tower. However, they cannot boast of accuracy.

Tourists are not allowed inside the building, but you can inspect the clock tower from the outside for an arbitrarily long and absolutely free time.

National Museum
The museum is located in one of the old buildings of the fort, dating back to 1656, although the expositions themselves opened only in 1986. They offer to get acquainted with archaeological finds made in the south of Sri Lanka. These are ritual masks, dishes, household items, jewelry. There are exhibits of the Dutch era – weapons and clay vessels. No photography allowed.

Opening hours: Tuesday – Saturday from 9:00 to 17:00

Entrance – 650 LKN

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