Galle Fort: The Crown Jewel of Sri Lanka
Galle Fort – located about 130km south-east of Colombo – is without a doubt the most charming town in Sri Lanka. The presence of Portuguese, Dutch and British colonization are made evident in the architecture comprised of terracotta tile roofs and white columns.
Note that Galle is the major, more modernized city outside the fort (where the main bus station is) and Galle Fort is the older part of town inside the fort as seen below.
Galle Fort is packed with coffee shops, local & international restaurants, quaint boutiques, jewelry shops and accommodation for every taste and budget. We chose to stay in a private home belonging to a very lovely man. He lived opposite the house we rented and greeted us every day with a big, happy smile engaging in friendly conversation. It’s often said that the people you meet when traveling leave a lasting impression and this was definitely the case with dear Mr. Cassim and his wife Waseema (who was an English teacher and voluntarily taught local children in their home).
Don’t be alarmed if you see swastikas stamped, painted or carved on houses in Galle Fort. I, myself, learned that swastika translates to good fortune, well-being and good luck bringing positive energy to houses bearing the symbol. Unfortunately, during WWII, Hitler adopted the swastika symbol to represent his Nazi regime giving it a very negative connotation – a far cry from its original pacific meaning.
Galle Fort was so enchanting, we decided to spend a few glorious days in the fortified town. Simply walking around this small, colonial town stitched with cobble-stone streets was an attraction in itself; never getting weary of the endless charm found at each turning corner. Another favorite pastime was strolling along the stacked-stone walls of the fort enjoying the panoramic views of the azure waters of the Indian Ocean. There’s also a small beach near the lighthouse if you’d like to catch up on some R&R and maybe strike up a conversation with the friendly locals.
If ever you get the chance to visit the island country of Sri Lanka, make sure to include Galle Fort on your itinerary. I’m certain you’ll want to extend your stay just as we did!
Have you been to Galle Fort? Did you also fall under its irresistible charm?