How to Explore the Old Dutch Fort At Galle in One Day

How to Explore the Old Dutch Fort At Galle in One Day

If you are looking for a historical and cultural experience in Sri Lanka, you should not miss the Old Dutch Fort at Galle. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the most well-preserved colonial forts in South Asia, and it offers a glimpse into the island’s past and present.

The Old Dutch Fort was built by the Dutch in the late 17th century when they occupied Sri Lanka. The fort is located in the southern coastal town of Galle and was initially constructed to protect the Dutch trading post in the area. The fort has a unique blend of European and Asian architecture, with 14 bastions, a lighthouse, a clock tower, churches, museums, and colonial houses.

You can easily explore the Old Dutch Fort in one day, as it is not very large and most of the attractions are within walking distance. Here are some of the highlights that you should not miss:

The Ramparts and Bastions

The best way to start your tour is to walk along the ramparts that surround it. The ramparts offer stunning views of the Indian Ocean and the town of Galle. You can also see some of the bastions that were used to defend the fort from attacks. Each bastion has a different name and history, such as Flagrock, Neptune, Triton, and Star.

The Lighthouse

One of the most iconic landmarks is the lighthouse that stands on the Point Utrecht Bastion. The lighthouse was built by the British in 1939 and is still operational today. It is 26.5 meters high and has a white cylindrical tower with a red lantern. The lighthouse is a popular spot for photography and sunset watching.

The Clock Tower

Another prominent feature of the Old Dutch Fort is the clock tower that dominates the Moon Bastion. The clock tower was built by the British in 1883 and is more than 130 years old. The clock tower has four faces and chimes every 15 minutes. It also has a plaque that commemorates Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee.

The Churches

The Fort has several churches that reflect the religious diversity of its inhabitants. The oldest church is the Groote Kerk or the Dutch Reformed Church, which was built in 1755. The church has a simple exterior but a rich interior with an organ, a pulpit, a baptismal font, and tombstones of Dutch settlers.

Another church worth visiting is the All Saints’ Church, which was built in 1871 by the British. The church has a Gothic Revival style with stained glass windows, a wooden ceiling, and a pipe organ. The church also hosts regular services and concerts.

The Museums

If you want to learn more about the history and culture of the Old Dutch Fort, you should visit some of its museums. One of them is the National Maritime Museum, which is housed in a former warehouse built by the Dutch in 1671. The museum displays various artifacts related to maritime activities, such as boats, maps, weapons, and shells.

Another museum that you should not miss is the Historical Mansion Museum, which is located in a restored colonial house. The museum showcases a collection of antiques and curiosities that belong to a local family. You can see items such as furniture, jewelry, coins, ceramics, masks, and paintings.

The Streets and Shops

One of the joys of exploring the Old Dutch Fort is wandering around its narrow streets and alleys. You can admire the charming colonial buildings that have been converted into hotels, cafes, restaurants, galleries, and shops. You can also find some local handicrafts such as lace, batik, wood carving, and gemstones.

The Old Dutch Fort at Galle is a must-see attraction for anyone who visits Sri Lanka. It is a place where you can experience the rich history and culture of this island nation. You can easily spend a day here and enjoy its beauty and charm.