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    The Ramparts of Galle

    A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Galle Fort is the best preserved fortified city built by European colonial powers in Asia. Also known as the Ramparts of Galle, the fort illustrates the interaction of European architecture and South Asian traditions from the 16th to the 19th centuries and was originally built by the Portuguese in 1584, before it fell into the hands of the Dutch in 1640, who decided to fortify it to an even greater extent. This archaeological monument maintains a polished appearance even after 423 years.

    Having landed in Sri Lanka in 1505, the Portuguese built the fort with palisades covering the northern land side. Since they did not expect any attacks from the sea, they did not build any fortifications on the sea-ward side. However in 1640, they were driven out by the Dutch who joined forces with the Sinhala Kings and captured the fort. The Dutch found the Portuguese defenses to be too weak for their liking and therefore chose to encircle the entire peninsula extensively.

    14 bastions, covering an area of 130 acres, were built with granite stones and coral, as defense against other colonial powers in the region. A grid layout was used to plan the city built within the fort, with roads constructed in parallel to the fort's ramparts.

    The fort resembles a small walled town with a rectangular grid pattern of streets and is home to about 400 houses, churches, mosques, temples, and many commercial and government buildings. The Dutch Reformed Church, the old Dutch government house, the National Maritime Museum near the Old Gate, residence of the Commander, the Great Warehouse built around 1669 to store spices and ship equipment, the Meera Mosque built in 1904, the Buddhist temple built at the site of Portuguese Roman Catholic church and the All Saints Anglican Church built in 1871 are other important heritage monuments that can be found.