Old Town of Galle and its Fortifications
Said to be the famous Tarshish of the Bible where King Solomon obtained gems and spices, this “Living” UNESCO World Heritage Site is the port where the Portuguese first landed in Sri Lanka in 1505. Captured and fortified by the Dutch who ruled maritime Sri Lanka in the 17th and 18th centuries, the city still retains the air of old Holland. Within the well preserved 90 acre fort and ramparts built in 1663 are old Dutch churches and monuments with armorial bearings, an imposing crested and monogrammed gateway dated 1669, many well preserved old Dutch houses and narrow alleys still bearing Dutch names.
The New Oriental Hotel, built for a Dutch governor in 1684, a colonial gem now converted to the internationally renowned Amangalle Hotel and several other excellent boutique hotels are testimony to the importance of this location.