Galle is a city on the southwest coast of Sri Lanka. It’s known for Galle Fort, the fortified old city founded by Portuguese colonists in the 16th century. Stone sea walls, expanded by the Dutch, encircle car-free streets with architecture reflecting Portuguese, Dutch and British rule. Notable buildings include the 18th-century Dutch Reformed Church. Galle Lighthouse stands on the fort’s southeast tip.
The Old Gate, the fortification’s original entrance, bears the insignia of the Dutch East India Company. The gate leads to the National Maritime Museum, with exhibits focusing on seafaring and marine life, including a whale skeleton and items salvaged from shipwrecks. Galle National Museum, in a 1656 building, displays southern Sri Lankan artifacts such as ritual masks and woodcarvings, and objects from the colonial era. Just outside the northern fortifications, the Galle International Stadium hosts cricket matches with Indian Ocean views.