Galle Fort – Gaalu kotuwa,In 1587 AD, the Portuguese conquered Galle from the Sinhalese king. To protect the harbor, they built a single-walled garrison with decks, checkpoints. The fort built by the Portuguese is known today as the Black Fort.
The Dutch captured the Galle Fort in 1640, under the leadership of Wilhelm Jacobs Koster, with 12 battleships of 2,000 troops. The Dutch won the battle for four days on March 3, 1640.
The Portuguese fort was enlarged by the Dutch. The Dutch built an enormous fort and an entire town, linking 16 large baskets of artillery.
The main entrance to the crossing of a high and low bridge over a moat can still be seen in the fort today. The two doorknobs used at the time are still in use today. The inscription on the inner side of the entrance has the logo of the Dutch East India Company and the British Royal insignia on the front of the entrance.
The British occupied the fort by an agreement in 1795. They then built another new entrance to the fort.
There are 473 houses in the Galle Fort, according to statistics from the Department of Archeology. . About 50 percent of these buildings were built before the British era. 104 houses were built before 1850.
According to scholars, Galle Fort was the main administrative center of Sri Lanka during the Portuguese and Dutch periods.
The largest building in the fort is the Dutch warehouse. The upper story of the two-storeyed building had a Dutch-style convent. In front of it is a bell tower built-in 1701.
The tallest building in the fort is the Aman Galle Hotel. Recently known as the New Oriental Hotel, it was built in 1684 with 12 floors. Another noteworthy place is the dilapidated Dutch administration building and the Fort Library, which is considered to be the oldest library in Asia.
The Old Dutch Church, the Anglican Church built by the British in 1871 is a mosque and a Buddhist temple. The Queen’s House, built in 1683, was the home of the Dutch and British Governors. The first lighthouse built in Sri Lanka was built by the British in 1886 at Galle Fort. Made of metal, it was destroyed in a fire in 1936. Elsewhere, the lighthouse was rebuilt in 1937 and the road near the old lighthouse is still used as a lighthouse street.
The beautifully decorated clock tower was built with public assistance in 1983 to commemorate the renowned social worker and the first member of Galle Municipal Council, Peter Daniel Antonis.
Galle harbor which is considered as the main port of Sri Lanka since ancient times is considered as a marine archaeological site. A total of 26 archaeological sites have been identified in the vicinity of the harbor and fort, including several sunken Dutch ships such as Avondster and Harakulis.
There are three schools in the fort. Southlands Girls ‘College, All Saints’ School, and Arabic College. Most of the government offices have been housed in the fort until recently, with the Fort Conservation Project.
Museums in the Galle Fort
It is not well known that all three major museums are located in Galle Fort. These are the three museums;
 National Maritime Museum – Controlled by the Department of National Museums
2] Marine Archeology Museum – administered by the Central Cultural Fund
 Galle National Museum – Controlled by the Department of National Museums
All three are located in the Galle Fort premises. Two Maritime Museums are located in the old Dutch storage complex in front of the Galle Fort Filling Station. The other is about 150 meters away.
Read another Article Related Fort: Yapahuwa Fort