One of the most popular holiday destinations in Sri Lanka, Galle Fort is a UNESCO World Heritage Site which once served as a key trading port for the European colonial powers that occupied most of the island for over 300 years between the 16th and 19th centuries. Although first built by the Portuguese, it is commonly referred to as the Dutch Fort, as it was they who heavily fortified it in the 1700s to include ramparts constructed from granite and coral, 14 bastions and cannons to protect the port from invading ships. When the British took control in the 19th century they constructed a variety of administrative buildings, as well as the ‘New Oriental Hotel’ (now called Amangalla), one of the first hotels in Asia.
Wander through streets lined with the relics of the various European powers, which are brought to life by your host’s intimate knowledge of the Fort’s colonial past. Explore the Dutch ramparts, 17th century church and historic arch engraved with both the Dutch and British crests, and the various administrative buildings left behind by the British, including a printing press and post office. See one of the most historic hotels in Sri Lanka which dates back to the 19th century and a bell tower dating back to the 16th century, before wending your way to the ramparts. After hearing many fascinating myths and stories about the Fort’s intriguing history, your host will describe the impact of the 2004 tsunami and how it affected the modern-day culture of Galle Fort, before finishing the tour at the iconic lighthouse which overlooks a restful Japanese Peace Pagoda.