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The historic settlement of Galle is also one of the largest towns on the Sri Lankan south coast, and is famous for its fortified centre, Galle Fort. Developed by the Portuguese then subsequently the Dutch, the town's fortunes took a turn for the worse when it was struck by the Boxing Day tsunami in 2004, perhaps the toughest onslaught the old walls had stood against.

I took a day trip to Galle from where I was staying in nearby Unawatuna, to explore the fort. Whilst the walls are undoubtedly impressive, I was slightly disappointed to find the fort itself to be quite empty of people, and in some places, buildings. It was an interesting wander all the same, and I found a very interesting arts and crafts shop, the products of which now adorn my mantlepiece back home!

Galle's fortified walls

Galle Fort's mighty walls surround the old town entirely, and are pleasantly laid to grass on top.

It's possible to walk the entire perimeter of Galle atop the walls and sea defences.

Sea walls at Galle

Galle lighthouse

The southern tip of Galle Fort is punctuated with this lighthouse.

Occasionally I would spot the distinctive cockrel of the crest of Galle, derived from that of the Dutch East India Company.

Crest of Galle

Amangalla Hotel

In the centre of Galle Fort is the Amangalla, the fanciest hotel around although looking fairly modest from the outside.

Evidence of Galle's colonial past is clear to see in such examples as The Dutch Reformed Church.

Dutch Reformed Church

Bell tower, Galle

The bell tower of Galle Fort now stands alone and somewhat unloved.

The Historical Mansion Museum was well worth a rummage, with many of the exhibits being for sale. It is a collection of all sorts of bric-a-brac from across the ages, with the logo of the Dutch East India Company "VOC" clearly visible on the tablet by the well.

Historical Mansion Museum

Historical Mansion Museum

Inside the museum craftspeople were plying their trade.

At the southern part of the fort stands the Fort Meeran Jumma Masjid, a mosque which was formerly a church.

Fort Meeran Jumma Masjid

All Saints Church, Galle

Looking across the rooftops of Galle Fort to the All Saints Church spire.

Colourful houses in Galle Fort, although getting difficult to photograph in the gradually dimming light.

Colourful houses

Galle Fort town

A general view from the sea walls back to All Saints Church, with locals playing cricket in the foreground.

Outside of Galle Fort we passed by this bright yellow mosque on the way from Unawatuna.

Yellow mosque

Busy buses back to Colombo

Galle bus station was my point of departure to get back to Colombo. Things weren't much quieter than this aboard the bus, I'm sorry to report…

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Copyright © Ross Wattie 2013