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About Galle...  

About Galle...

Untouched and unspoiled by the forces of modernity, Galle is the capital city of southern province of Sri Lanka with a colourful history. A UNESCO declared World Heritage Site; the Dutch fort out here attracts a number of tourists. This place is still alive with the 300 year old Dutch history and you can find many historical Dutch buildings and monuments out here. The Dutch Fort, which spreads across 36 hectors, has an amazing collection of structures and culture that dates back to centuries. This fort now houses administrative offices, courts, companies etc. Tourism is Galle is slowly catching a momentum with a lot of boutique hotels coming along, in all those old vintage buildings. Centre of European administration for about 4 centuries, this ancient city is reminiscent of grand Dutch civilization in Sri Lanka.
Galle is the main city in the most southerly part of the island, with a population of around 100 000, and is connected by rail to Colombo and Matara. On 26 December 2004 the city was devastated by the massive Boxing Day Tsunami caused by the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake that occurred a thousand miles away, off the coast of Indonesia. Thousands were killed in the city alone. Galle is home to a cricket ground, the Galle International Stadium, rebuilt after the tsunami. Test matches resumed there on December 18, 2007.
Rumassala in Unawatuna is a large mound-like hill, which forms the eastern protective barrier to the Galle harbour. Local tradition associates this hill with some events of the Ramayana.

Things to Do...

Galle offer you a chance to have a close encounter with ancient colonial history of Sri Lanka. Some of the must visit places in Galle are - the Dutch Reformed Port, which was built by the Dutch army at the site of an old Portuguese church; Ahangama, where you can see some of the most unique fishing techniques like silt fishing; the world famous Dutch fort; Koggala which has a museum of Folk, art and culture and one can also go for boat trip in the lagoon and the Koggala Lake here; the Dutch Museum which contains paintings, prints, documents, furniture and ceramics from the Dutch era. Hence every step you take in this historical city will bring you closer to the grand history of the Dutch, one of the most powerful and famous colonial masters of the olden days.
Galle provides a lot of activities for the tourists to do. They can go to the Unawatuna Beach, which is just about 5 kms from the main town and is a good place to hang out, soaking up the sun and just relaxing. You can also shop for many handicrafts that are popular in this place. Some of them are lace making, gem polishing etc. There are some renowned jeweller shops out here. Another important handicraft is carved pieces of Ebony. Or you can just take a taxi or a cab and drive around the city. Accommodation is not a problem as numerous hotels, inns, guest houses, resorts and other types of accommodation are available at affordable cost. The nearest airport is in Colombo. After landing here you can take a bus of taxi to Galle. It is also an international sea port, which is connected to various other sea ports of the world. The best season to visit Galle is the spring, particularly February. It is good to avoid the wet months from May to September.
Amongst the many wonders are the intriguing assortments of art and craft, the making of which are traditions often passed down from one generation to the next. In the city centre, its outskirts and in nearby villages around Galle, handicrafts is an industry that has been kept alive, long over the years. Many are indigenous to the region itself, and were highly sought after in ancient times by royalty, and subsequently by the ruling colonial powers.
Intricately crafted wood carving is a signature product of the South and Ebony Work of antiquity are immensely valuable, as the rich black wood of the Ebony tree - now being a protected species, can no longer be used. Using a mallet and chisel, craftsmen create ornate designs using skills and techniques handed down by their ancestors.
An exquisite legacy of the Portuguese, the art of lace making continues to be a popular livelihood nearly four centuries later. The two main types, crochet and pillow lace in delicate, fine designs are deftly picked out by expert fingers - a skill mastered over generations.
Costume jewellery is also available in varied shapes and forms. Silver, gold or other metals inlaid with coloured stones and the more complex Kandyan jewellery using an unusual technique termed filigree. There are indeed many other treasures to discover too - the rich diversity of handcrafts in Galle will ensure that you find that unique keepsake or gift you search for.


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