Galle is located on the south coast of Sri Lanka, 116km (72 miles) south of Colombo, the capital. It overlooks the Indian Ocean.
The first visitors who decided to stay and make it their home were the Portuguese and legend has it on arriving the sailors heard a cockerel on a rock (cockerel is galo in Portuguese) and as a result named this new port Galo. After the Portuguese the Dutch took over and then the British in 1796, who remained in power until Sri Lanka gained independence in February 1948. In 1988 the Fort became a UNESCO World Heritage-listed site and is now one of the countries most desirable places for real estate. There are two lovely spots to sit and sunbathe in relative privacy at Light House Beach downa handful of steps or by the main working Lighthouse in the Fort or Lady Sea Baths, where you will find local women swimming fully dressed due to the predominantly Muslim occupancy of the Fort.
The southern coastal belt is the most popular among the tourists and comes to life mainly from October through April when the monsoon moves northeast and the sea becomes calm with blue skies. The earliest European administrative centre of Sri Lanka was the major port and the largest city until the British shifted the port to Colombo.
The City of Galle had been the European administrative centre over 4 centuries.
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