22 November 2011

The City of Galle and its Majestic Attractions

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For centuries it had been the main port of the Island and its lovely natural harbour has attracted many an Arab sea trader who plied the waters of the Indian Ocean whilst on trading tours from the Middle East and China. The port’s history and importance can be traced as far back as the pre-Christian times and later on it was the ideal stop over for the traders of the spice route. When the Portuguese took over the coastal areas of Sri Lanka in the 16th century they took over the Galle harbour and constructed the Galle Fort, making the city, even today, an architecturally and culturally a fascinating place. It was the Dutch, who took over from the Portuguese, who decided to strengthen the fort by adding a lighthouse to it.

Apart from the addition of the Light House the Dutch also brought with them a vibrant culture, traditions and art which are all portrayed in the architectural styles of the Fort city, old churches, culture and cuisine of the southern people.

When the city was taken over by the British in 1796 the location of the Light House was changed to the very edge of the outcrop where it still stands proudly today. And the combination of the historical site of the Galle Fort, its various buildings and the beacon house, is one of the main attractions of southern Sri Lanka and is a favourite haunt of tourists as well as locals who wish to explore the rich and vivid history of the Island.

Visitors to Galle will soon realize that it is very touristy and the generally very hospitable people of Sri Lanka have come up with various accommodation options and eateries to offer a comfortable and enjoyable holiday for all. Galle hotels boast various interesting locations with some being right in the middle of the old fort city and some featuring easy access to the golden beaches and the blue waters. For those wishing to relive the luxury lifestyle of the colonial era may try the Jetwing Lighthouse hotel which is an excellent Galle hotel providing luxury facilities and amenities and access to the sandy beaches.