During the European Renaissance, European nations invaded lands outside their borders and established foreign empires. They also built forts (Dutch Fort) to protect the area. The Portuguese invaded the coastal areas of Ceylon and took control of the coast and established defenses there.
Around 1588, the Portuguese built a wall with blocks of stone and wood with three watchtowers throughout the peninsular territory with the port of Galle. The sea limit was protected by natural rocks in the sea. Portuguese houses, shops and offices were located in this protected area (Dutch Fort). Some 275 Portuguese families are said to have lived in this fort. The Portuguese troops, Laskirinja and Capiri were deployed to protect the fort. In March 1640, the Dutch, led by William Jacob Koster, fought a great fight and seized power. Later, the Dutch consolidated their fortifications and, in the 18th century, they had built a more dilapidated fort, covering the beach wall in a broader and stronger way.
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The Dutch fort at Galle is an excellent example of a fortified city built in the east, with western nations coming east and incorporating western architectural tactics into eastern traditions. An important feature of Galle Fort’s design is that the European model has been adapted to suit Sri Lanka’s geographic, climatic, historical and cultural conditions. Black stone and limestone were used to build the fort. Although 400 years have passed since its construction, Fort Galle has become important since its structures can still be seen today. The area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as it is a living testimony of an important period in human history.
Artillery watchtowers, ammunition depots and warehouses, prisons, secret rooms, tunnels, secret stairways, a fortified wall, and offices, commercial and residential buildings displaying Dutch architectural features, parallel to the walls and terrain. Fortified with a network of cobblestone streets, Fort City has become a popular destination for local and foreign tourists.
There are two doors to enter Fort Galle. The main entrance to the warehouse on the east side was built in 1668 by the Dutch. Above the door is a stone tablet engraved with the Dutch VOC logo, Hoin Suit Que Make You Nesse (ANNO MDCLXIX (1669 AD)). Once Fort Galle fell to the English, the sign was removed and mounted inside the gate of the fort. The English logo, Dieu Et Mon Droit (God and my right), was erected on the site. The other gate was built in 1873 during British rule.
Although the fort appears to have been commercialized with the expansion of the tourism industry, at the end of 2015 there were 333 family units and 1,686 permanent residents at Fort Galle, according to a report by the Galle Heritage Foundation.