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Updated by Joanna James on Mar 14, 2018
Headline for 5 Things to do in Galle – The timeless gem in the south of Sri Lanka
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Joanna James Joanna James
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5 Things to do in Galle – The timeless gem in the south of Sri Lanka

An ancient city steeped in Colonial history, Galle was a once bustling trading port that still retains the charm of a bygone era. With ancient mosques, forts, and mansions, there is plenty to see here.

1

Flag Rock

Present at the southernmost corner of the Galle Fort, Flag Rock once served as a Portuguese bastion. Nowadays though, it is regularly overrun by visitors looking to get those Instagram worthy pictures of the sunset. During the day, local adrenaline junkies use the bastion as a diving board. What makes this quite unsettling is that the waters below hide many rocks and landing in the wrong spot can have fatal consequences. After the Dutch took over the Fort, they used Flag Rock to warn incoming ships of dangerous rocks, from which the name was derived.

2

Dutch Reformed Church

First built in the seventeenth century, 1640 to be exact, the Dutch Reformed Church is well worth a visit. Headstones from Dutch graveyards adorn the floor while the pulpit is constructed using calamander wood with an imposing hexagonal canopy to top it off. The caretaker is friendly and would gladly give you a tour of the premises. One of the oldest Protestant churches in the country, the Dutch Reformed church also has a vintage organ that dates back to the seventeenth century. With rental companies like Car booking Sri Lanka available at hands reach, getting a car booking in Sri Lanka to get to Galle should not be much of a task.

3

Marine Archeological Museum

Located in a seventeenth-century spice warehouse, the large Marine Archeological Museum is a must visit for anyone interested in the country's long naval history. Part of the fort's ramparts, it is quite hard to miss the colossal museum. As you enter you are subjected to a video which explains the history of Sri Lanka's marine history along with a few interactive displays. Consisting of two levels, the Marine Archeological Museum also gives details on the numerous shipwrecks littered around the seas off Galle.

4

Meeran Mosque

Located close to the lighthouse, the Meeran Mosque is an intriguing piece of work. This is because the design of the mosque combines Baroque architecture with a distinctive Victorian-era touch and the precise detailing of ancient Islamic architecture. The end result is a façade that is more akin to a European cathedral than a mosque. There is no admission fee and even non-Muslims can enter the mosque, provided that they are well dressed. On the inside, the Meeran Mosque features an eye-catching tile design and a beautiful mihrab that is surrounded by domes.

5

Sudharmalaya Temple

Set towards the west of the city, the small all white temple is the very definition of tranquillity. Consisting of a prayer hall – which is a rare feature in a Buddhist temple – you can also find a reclining statue of Buddha complete with a small stupa built in the nineteenth century. The temple is the site for regular yoga classes too.

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