I had heard a lot about Galle, the beautiful, colonial fortress town on the southern tip of Sri Lanka, and today was rightfully all about Galle. As I said yesterday, a perk about visiting Sri Lanka is that every nook and cranny of the country is no more than a few hours away from every other nook and cranny. Galle, it is said, was where King Solomon sent his ships. The solid Portuguese-Dutch fortress encircling the old town is also supposedly the reason why Galle fort (as it is called colloquially) still stands untouched today in spite of the calamity that was the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami while much of the main town of Galle outside the walls of the fortress was sadly wiped out: “Thousands died,” explained our driver, looking out into the sea just one last time as we prepared to leave Galle late in the evening and head out to the Colombo–Galle expressway, one of the many testaments to the government’s excellent work to rebuild parts of the island nation severely affected by the catastrophe. I want to address this once again in a while, albeit in a completely different light.
The architecture in Galle is similar to the Portuguese architecture in Goa, India — and Portugal, certainly, but my point is that this lies along the trade route held in high regard by the various “East India” Companies of the British, the Dutch etc. Indeed the Portuguese lost this fort, like they did several others around that time, to either the Brits or the Dutch. Continue reading