Galle Fort located in the Bay of Galle on the southern coast of Sri Lanka. Portuguese build Galle fort in 1588. Later dutch developed the Galle fort in the 17th century. So Galle Fort is also known as Dutch Fort. It is the largest remaining fortress in Asian region built by European occupiers. Galle fort shows the interaction between European architectural styles and South Asian traditions from the 16th to the 19th centuries. It has been inscribed as a cultural heritage UNESCO world heritage site under criteria iv.
The Galle fort has two gates. The two towering gates to the fort are called as “Portcullised gates”. The first gate to the fort from the port is inscribed “ANNO MDCL XIX”. Its depiction of Dutch coat of arms with the ubiquitous emblem of cock. The main gate on the land side is the northern stretch of the fort. It is heavily fortified. This gate was fortified with a draw bridge surrounded by a tiny moat. Some inscriptions indicate 1669 as the year of construction. Walking along the Galle fort wall in a clockwise direction leads to the Old Gate. The gate is longer than it appears and when you are inside lookup in the ceiling and you will see the slots in the roof for the different defensive gates that were used over time. There is the 1668 dated inscription of the letters VOC in the inner part of the gate. VOC is an abbreviation of Verenigde Oostindindische Compagnie, meaning Dutch East India Company.
During the 17th Century, the Dutch constructed a two-storey dutch hospital on the eastern side of Galle fort to look after the health of the officers and other staff serving under the Dutch East India Comapany. It is located on hospital road, across from the police barracks and just before magistrate’s square. Dutch have designed the hospital with long colonnaded verandas on both sides and floors of the building. They have used cabook (coral stone) for the masonry work, with granite paved floors and thick plinth walls. Later, the masonry work was plastered over and white washed. In 1796 British captured the building. Then they extended the building towards the north along the same ground plan. British introduced glazed windows and glazed fanlights to this section. In 1850 the British converted the hospital into a barracks and they used the building for the office of the Government Agent. After Sri Lanka’s independence the building was used as the Galle Town Hall. In 2014, the building was converted into a shopping and dining precinct without destroying the historic architecture of the building. Now there are The Tuna And The Crab, Colombo Jewelry Stores, Sugar Bistro, and some souvenir shops.
Galle fort clock tower is a representative symbol of Galle. It is the tallest clock tower in Sri Lanka. Early days there was a belfry at this place that was removed in 1879 and constructed the clock tower in 1883. The clock tower construction began according to a plan made by an Engineer named John Henry Gues. It was separately donated by Mudaliyar Samson de Abrew Rajapakse. The tower is 25.3 m (83 ft) high and is located within the ramparts of the Galle Fort on the site of the previous guardroom, overlooking one of the three bastions of the fort. Clock tower might be better to photograph it from the Moon Bastion which the tower faces.
Galle Lighthouse was the very first light station to be built in Sri Lanka dating back to 1848. This original structure stood 24.5 m tall. The light was made with a glass prism lens, which floated in a mercury bath and was powered by a weight-driven machine. This lighthouse was destroyed by fire in 1934. The existing 26.5-metre-high lighthouse was erected here in 1939. The Galle Fort Lighthouse is currently operated and managed by the Sri Lanka Ports Authority. Visitors are not allowed to climb the lighthouse.
All Saints’ Church
The church was designed by J.G. Smithers. Construction of All Saints Church was begun in 1868. All Saint’s Church was consecrated on 21 February 1871. The plan of the Church is cruciform firmly supported on stone columns and arches carved in timber. Masonry arches built-in local cabook and lime mortar. The first Baptism at All Saints was Lilian Slade Godolphin Ozanne on 21 February 1871. James Weir’s and Jane Strene King’s marriage was the first marriage in All Saints’s Chruch. It held on 25 March 1871.
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