Galle’s UNESCO Heritage gem

Spending some time in Galle Fort is on the ‘to do’ list of most visitors to Sri Lanka. The Fort was designated by UNESCO as a cultural World Heritage Site in 1988 and the compact area (ignoring distractions you can walk from side to side in five minutes) is full of wonderful buildings which characterise what we now call  “Dutch Colonial”.  Originally built as merchants’ houses with warehouses out back, these historic buildings are now home to an infinite variety of restaurants, boutiques, hotels and the odd rare private villa.

The small promontory is walled by impressive fortifications built by the Dutch in the 17th Century extending the small defensive outpost established by the previous occupiers, the Portuguese. The ramparts have protected the fort for nearly four hundred years, even withstanding the 2004 Tsunami, and these days provide a wonderful breezy elevated walkway around the headland with the Indian Ocean on one side and the narrow, streets of Galle fort on the other.