Learn about Galle’s maritime history

Galle is one of the most prominent cities in Sri Lanka and the cultural heart of the island’s South. The region has a long and storied history that is truly fascinating. It is a story intertwined with the great European powers that arose during the Colonial Period.

Nowadays, Galle serves as a major city and port while also being a popular tourist destination. Travellers from all across the globe flock to the city to experience its famed white-sand beaches and picturesque natural landscapes. Once they reach Galle, travellers soon fall in love with the unique culture and traditions associated with the local populace. Most of these practices first took root when the European powers arrived on the island.

The Portuguese were the first colonial power that came into contact with Sri Lanka. While they attempted several times to capture the central kingdoms of Sri Lanka, they had no success. As such, the Portuguese settled with ruling the maritime provinces of Sri Lanka, and Galle was a vital region for them. As such, they would start building a fort at the location – this was to serve as both a place for military strategy and governance. Once the Dutch took over the region, they would further develop the fort until it grew into the famous Galle Fort you can visit today! The structure is considered to be one of the must-visit locations in Galle boasting some of the best examples of colonial architecture seen anywhere in South Asia.

Now, if you’re truly interested in learning about the maritime history of Galle, be sure to visit the National Maritime Museum during your visit to the Galle Fort. The establishment was opened in 1992 with its exhibits housed in a warehouse used by the Dutch back in 1672. The museum harbours hundreds of colonial artefacts – from weapons and coin to manuscripts. For those who want to know everything there’s to know about Galle’s colonial past – this is the place to visit!