Galle, Sri Lanka's Fortified City
Galle is a town situated on the southwestern tip of Sri Lanka, 119 km south of Colombo. Galle was known as Gimhathiththa before the arrival of the Portuguese in the 16th century, when it was the main port on the island. Galle reached the height of its development in the 18th century, before the arrival of the British, who developed the harbor at Colombo. Galle lies in Galle District.
On 26 December 2004 the city was devastated by the massive Boxing Day Tsunami caused by the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake that occurred a thousand miles away, off the coast of Indonesia. Thousands were killed in the city alone. Galle is the best example of a fortified city built by Europeans in south and southeast Asia, showing the interaction between European architectural styles and south Asian traditions.
Galle Fort is a World Heritage Site and the largest remaining fortress in Asia built by European occupiers.
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