The Galle Fort – sometimes referred to as the Dutch Fort in Galle – is one of the city’s premier attractions. In fact, many tourists flock to the coastal city just to be able to experience the magnificence that is this colonial construct. Now, there are many building and sights to see in here – the magnificent Galle Clock Tower should be near the top of your list!
The Galle Fort was originally established by the Portuguese following their initial conquest of the island’s maritime provinces. Once the Dutch took overrule from the Portuguese, they continued to develop the structures that the original occupants had left behind – this included the Galle Fort. This practice continued once the British arrived and it was during their reign that the famed clock tower got added to the fort.
It is said that the people of Galle sponsored the construction of the tower as a token of appreciation for Dr Anthonisz. The Doctor was burgher in descent and was a popular local character that was renowned for his expertise and kind nature. In honour of him, the tower today carries the following inscription – “This tower erected by public subscription to the perpetual memory of Peter Daniel Anthonisz (born in Galle) in the testimony of his skill and benevolence in relieving human suffering. MDCCCLXXXIII”. Designing the tower fell to one John Henry Gues Landon who was ana architect of some renown during the period.
Nowadays, the clock tower is one of the most recognisable and iconic images associated with Galle – and the whole of Sri Lanka for that matter. The Galle Fort itself is recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a top attraction. As such, you’ll no doubt end up visiting the location during your trek through Galle. When you do, be sure to take some time to appreciate the Galle For Clock Tower too!