|City of Galle|
|• Type||Galle Municipal Council|
|• Mayor||Priyantha G. Sahabandu|
|• Headquarters||Galle Town Hall|
|• Total||16.52 km2 (6.38 sq mi)|
|Elevation||0 m (0 ft)|
|• Density||5,712/km2 (14,790/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+5:30 (Sri Lanka Standard Time Zone)|
|UNESCO World Heritage Site|
|Inscription||1988 (12th Session)|
Galle (Sinhala : ගාල්ල, romanized: Gālla; Tamil : காலி, romanized: Kāli) (formerly Point de Galle) is a major city in Sri Lanka, situated on the southwestern tip, 119 kilometres (74 mi) from Colombo. Galle is the provincial capital and largest city of Southern Province, Sri Lanka and is the capital of Galle District.
Galle was known as Gimhathiththabefore the arrival of the Portuguese in the 16th century, when it was the main port on the island. Ibn Batuta, a Moroccan Berber Muslim traveller in the 14th century, referred to it as Qali. Galle reached the height of its development in the 18th century, during the Dutch colonial period. Galle is the best example of a fortified city built by the Portuguese in South and Southeast Asia, showing the interaction between Portuguese architectural styles and native traditions. The city was extensively fortified by the Dutch during the 17th century from 1649 onwards. The Galle fort is a world heritage site and is the largest remaining fortress in Asia built by European occupiers.
Other prominent landmarks in Galle include the city's natural harbour, the National Maritime Museum, St. Mary's Cathedral founded by Jesuit priests, one of the main Shiva temples on the island, and Amangalla, the historic luxury hotel. On 26 December 2004, the city was devastated by the massive tsunami caused by the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake, which occurred off the coast of Indonesia a thousand miles away. Thousands were killed in the city alone. Galle is home to the Galle International Stadium, which is considered to be one of the most picturesque cricket grounds in the world.The ground, which was severely damaged by the tsunami, was rebuilt and test matches resumed there on 18 December 2007.
Important natural geographical features in Galle include Rumassala in Unawatuna, a large mound-like hill that forms the eastern protective barrier to Galle Harbour. Local tradition associates this hill with some events of Ramayana, one of the great Hindu epics. The major river in the area is the Gin Ganga, which begins from Gongala Kanda, passes villages such as Neluwa, Nagoda, Baddegama, Thelikada and Wakwella, and reaches the sea at Gintota. The river is bridged at Wakwella by the Wakwella Bridge.
Galle was known as Gimhathitha in ancient times. The term is believed to be derived from the classical Sinhalese term meaning "port near the River Gin". It is believed that the town got its name as Gaalla in the native tongue as a result of the large number of bullock carts that took shelter in the area, following the long slow journeys from remote areas of the island. Gaala in Sinhala means the place where cattle are herded together; hence the Sinhalese name for Galle, ගාල්ල, is a development from Gaala. [ citation needed ] The Dutch used the rooster as a symbol of Galle, though probably the word comes from the Portuguese galo (rooster).Another theory is that the word Galle is derived from the Latin word gallus, which means 'rooster'.
According to James Emerson Tennent, Galle was the ancient seaport of Tarshish, from which King Solomon drew ivory, peacocks and other valuables. Cinnamon was exported from Sri Lanka as early as 1400 BC, and as the root of the word itself is Hebrew, Galle may have been a main entrepôt for the spice.
Ancient Greek and Roman geographers may have known about Galle, which they might have called the Cape of Birds. Ptolemy might also have known about the port which he referred to as Odoka. Moroccan traveller Ibn Battuta visited Galle (or Qali as he called it) in 1342. During the 12th and 13th centuries, Sinhalese refugees fleeing Tamil armies from the north began to settle in Galle and other nearby areas.
Galle had been a prominent seaport long before western rule in the country: Persians, Arabs, Greeks, Romans, Malays, Indians, and Chinese were doing business through Galle's port. In 1411, the Galle Trilingual Inscription, a stone tablet inscription in three languages, Chinese, Tamil and Persian, was erected in Galle to commemorate the second visit to Ceylon by the Chinese admiral Zheng He. In 1502, a small fleet of Portuguese ships, under the command of Lourenço de Almeida on their way to the Maldives, were blown off course by a storm. Realising that the King resided in Kotte close to Colombo, Lourenço proceeded there after a brief stop in Galle.
In 1640, the Portuguese were forced to surrender to the Dutch East India Company. The Dutch built the present fort in 1663. They built a fortified solid granite wall and three bastions, known as "Sun", "Moon" and "Star".
After the British took over the country from the Dutch in 1796, they preserved the fort unchanged and used it as the administrative centre of the district.
Galle features a tropical rainforest climate. The city has no true dry season, though it is noticeably drier in the months of January and February. As is commonplace with many cities with this type of climate, temperatures show little variation throughout the course of the year, with average temperatures hovering at around 26 °C (79 °F) throughout.
|Climate data for Galle|
|Record high °C (°F)||34.9|
|Average high °C (°F)||29.0|
|Average low °C (°F)||22.8|
|Record low °C (°F)||18.7|
|Average rainfall mm (inches)||85.1|
|Average rainy days||8||6||9||12||16||17||16||16||18||18||16||12||164|
|Source 1: World Meteorological Organisation|
|Source 2: Department of Meteorology (records up to 2007)|
Galle has twenty wards:
The Galle Municipal Council governs the City of Galle, established under the Municipalities Ordinance of 1865. It was at the time, only the third municipal council in the country. The first mayor of the city, Wijeyananda Dahanayake, was appointed in 1939; he later became the fifth Prime Minister of Ceylon.
The last appointed mayor was Methsiri De Silva, who served from 2009 to 2016. The mayoral system has been dissolved the Galle administration, with the city presently administered by a commissioner. The main vision of the city is "Building of moderate city through the supply of relatively increased utility services to the citizens who pay taxes to the Galle Municipal Council". The other vision is to brand Galle as "Green City-Green Galle" to create and promote Galle as one of Sri Lanka's cool and healthy coastal cities with a clean green canopy.
Galle is a sizeable city, by Sri Lankan standards, and has a population of 101,749 the majority of whom are of Sinhalese ethnicity, with a large population of Sri Lankan Moor (Muslims), particularly in the fort area, who descend from Arab merchants that settled in the ancient port of Galle and married Sinhalese and Sri Lankan Tamil women. Galle is also notable for its foreign population, both residents and owners of holiday homes.
Galle is home to some of the oldest leading schools in Sri Lanka, with twenty-nine government schools and five international schools constituting the city's educational system. Some of the schools located in Galle city are listed below.
|School||Date of establishment|
|All Saints College||1867|
|Anula Devi Balika Vidyalaya||1941|
|British College Sri Lanka|
|Buona Vista College||1848|
|Ceylinco Sussex College|
|Galle International College|
|Kingston International School|
|Leeds International School|
|Malharus Sulhiya National College||1918|
|Muslim Ladies College|
|Olcott Maha Vidyalaya Galle||1937|
|Rippon Girls' College||1817|
|Sacred Heart Convent||1896|
|St. Aloysius' College||1895|
|Sanghamitta Girls College||1919|
|Southlands College Galle||1885|
|Thomas Gall International School||2006|
|Janadhipathi Balika Vidyalaya||2007|
Three main faculties of the University of Ruhuna are located in Galle. The Faculty of Engineering is located at Hapugala, about 6 km from the city center. The Faculty of Medicine is located at Karapitiya near the Karapitiya Teaching Hospital. The Faculty of Allied Health Sciences of the University of Ruhuna is located in Uluwitike, in the city limits. A study centre of the Open University of Sri Lanka is also located in Galle, at Labuduwa junction.
The Advanced Technological Institute in Labuduwa, Galle was started in 2000, and it planned to offer Higher National Diploma in Information Technology and Higher National Diploma in Agriculture Technology – HNDT (Agri). Since then, Labuduwa ATI has been a pioneer in technological education in Sri Lanka. The National Institute of Business Management in Galle was established in 2010 to provide higher education opportunities in the fields of information technology and business management. The Ruhunu National College of Education, operated under the auspices of the Ministry of Education, trains teachers training for government schools in Kurunduwatta, Galle. Additionally, the Amarasuriya Teachers' Training College for government school teachers is in Unawatuna, Galle.
Galle is served by Sri Lanka Railways' Coastal Line and is connected by rail to Colombo and Matara. Galle Railway Station is a major station on the line and serves as the meeting point of the west- and south-coast segments of the line.The A2 highway, which is commonly known as the Galle Road, runs through the city and connects Galle to Colombo by the west-coast portion, and to Hambanthota by the south-coast portion. The Southern Expressway, Sri Lanka's first E Class highway, links the Sri Lankan capital Colombo with Galle and currently reduces the time spent for travel to one hour from the three hours taken by the regular A2 highway.
Galle is twinned with:
The history of Sri Lanka is intertwined with the history of the broader Indian subcontinent and the surrounding regions, comprising the areas of South Asia, Southeast Asia and Indian Ocean.
Colombo is the executive and judicial capital and largest city of Sri Lanka by population. According to the Brookings Institution, Colombo metropolitan area has a population of 5.6 million, and 752,993 in the Municipality. It is the financial centre of the island and a tourist destination. It is located on the west coast of the island and adjacent to the Greater Colombo area which includes Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte, the legislative capital of Sri Lanka, and Dehiwala-Mount Lavinia. Colombo is often referred to as the capital since Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte is itself within the urban/suburban area of Colombo. It is also the administrative capital of the Western Province and the district capital of Colombo District. Colombo is a busy and vibrant city with a mixture of modern life, colonial buildings and monuments.
Batticaloa is a major city in the Eastern Province, Sri Lanka, and its former capital. It is the administrative capital of the Batticaloa District. The city is the seat of the Eastern University of Sri Lanka and is a major commercial centre. It is on the east coast, 111 kilometres (69 mi) south of Trincomalee, and is situated on an island. Pasikudah is a popular tourist destination situated 35 km (22 mi) northwest with beaches and flat year-round warm-water shallow-lagoons.
Unawatuna is a coastal town in Galle district of Sri Lanka. Unawatuna is a major tourist attraction in Sri Lanka and known for its beach and corals. It is a suburb of Galle, about 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) southeast to the city center and approximately 108 kilometres (67 mi) south of Colombo. Unawatuna is situated at an elevation of 5 metres (16 ft) above the sea level. Despite significant development in the last decade it is still home to the endangered and endemic purple-faced langur, an usually shy monkey species that can only be found in Sri Lanka's forests.
Galle is a district in Southern Province, Sri Lanka. It is one of 25 districts of Sri Lanka, the second level administrative division of the country. The district is administered by a District Secretariat headed by a District Secretary appointed by the central government of Sri Lanka.
Matara is a major city in Sri Lanka, on the southern coast of Southern Province. It is the second largest city in Southern Province. It is 160 km (99 mi) from Colombo. It is a major commercial hub, and it is the administrative capital and largest city of Matara District.
Negombo is a major city in Sri Lanka, situated on the west coast and at the mouth of the Negombo Lagoon, in Western Province, 38 km (24 mi) from Colombo via Colombo - Katunayake Expressway.
The University of Ruhuna is a public university in Matara, Sri Lanka.
Sri Lankan place name etymology is characterized by the linguistic and ethnic diversity of the island of Sri Lanka through the ages and the position of the country in the centre of ancient and medieval sea trade routes. While typical Sri Lankan placenames of Sinhalese origin vastly dominate, toponyms which stem from Tamil, Dutch, English, Portuguese and Arabic also exist. In the past, the many composite or hybrid place names and the juxtaposition of Sinhala and Tamil placenames reflected the coexistence of people of both language groups. Today, however, toponyms and their etymologies are a source of heated political debate in the country as part of the political struggles between the majority Sinhalese and minority Sri Lankan Tamils.
Galle Face is a 5 ha ocean-side urban park, which stretches for 500 m (1,600 ft) along the coast, in the heart of Colombo, the financial and business capital of Sri Lanka. The promenade was initially laid out in 1859 by Governor Sir Henry George Ward, although the original Galle Face Green extended over a much larger area than is seen today. The Galle Face Green was initially used for horse racing and as a golf course, but was also used for cricket, polo, football, tennis, and rugby.
Karapitiya is a suburb of Galle in the Southern Province of Sri Lanka. It is located within the limits of Galle Four Gravets.
The A 2 is an A-Grade road in Sri Lanka. It connects Colombo and Wellawaya via Kalutara, Galle, Matara and Hambantota.
Fort (Colombo) is the central business district of Colombo in Sri Lanka. It is the financial district of Colombo and the location of the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE) and the World Trade Centre of Colombo from which the CSE operates. It is also the location of the Bank of Ceylon headquarters. Along the foreshore of the Fort area is the Galle Face Green Promenade, built in 1859 under the governance of Sir Henry George Ward, the Governor of Ceylon during British colonial era. Fort is also home to the General Post Office, hotels, government departments and offices.
The Port of Colombo is the largest and busiest port in Sri Lanka and the Indian Ocean. Located in Colombo, on the southwestern shores on the Kelani River, it serves as an important terminal in Asia due to its strategic location in the Indian Ocean. During the 1980s, the port underwent rapid modernization with the installation of Cranes, Gantries and other modern-day terminal requirements.
Jaffna is the capital city of the Northern Province of Sri Lanka. It is the administrative headquarters of the Jaffna District located on a peninsula of the same name. With a population of 88,138 in 2012, Jaffna is Sri Lanka's 12th most populous city. Jaffna is approximately six miles from Kandarodai which served as an emporium in the Jaffna peninsula from classical antiquity. Jaffna's suburb Nallur, served as the capital of the four-century-long medieval Jaffna Kingdom.
Galle Fort, in the Bay of Galle on the southwest coast of Sri Lanka, was built first in 1588 by the Portuguese, then extensively fortified by the Dutch during the 17th century from 1649 onwards. It is a historical, archaeological and architectural heritage monument, which even after more than 432 years maintains a polished appearance, due to extensive reconstruction work done by Archaeological Department of Sri Lanka.
The coastal line is a major railway line in Sri Lanka, running between Colombo Fort and Beliatta, via Galle and Matara. Operated by Sri Lanka Railways, the line includes some of the busiest rail services in the country. The line has been extended to Beliatta on 8 April 2019 and is proposed to be extended to Kataragama, via Hambantota. With a designed maximum speed of 100 km/h (62 mph) between Kalutara and Matara, and a maximum speed of 120 km/h (75 mph) between Matara and Beliatta, the line is one of the fastest in Sri Lanka.
Ruhunu Kumari is a daytime passenger train that runs between Colombo and Matara in Sri Lanka.
Henry Woodward Amarasuriya was a Ceylonese plantation owner, politician, educationist and philanthropist. He was the Cabinet Minister for Trade and Commerce in the cabinet of D. S. Senanayake. A former member of the Ceylon state council, H. W. Amarasuriya was a founding member and the first general secretary of the United National Party. He also held the position of Deputy Speaker and Chairman of Committees in the first parliament of Ceylon. A member of the first Education Executive Committee of the state council and a former general manager of the Buddhist schools, he did a great service to improve the education in Ceylon.
The Sinhalese–Portuguese War was a series of conflicts waged from 1527 to 1658 in Sri Lanka between the native Sinhalese kingdoms against the Portuguese Empire. It spanned from the Transitional to the Kandyan periods of Sri Lankan history. A combination of political and military moves gained the Portuguese control over most of the island, but their invasion of the final independent kingdom was a disaster, leading to a stalemate in the wider war and a truce from 1621. In 1638 the war restarted when the Dutch East India Company intervened in the conflict, initially as an ally of the Sinhalese against the Portuguese, but later as an enemy of both sides. The war concluded in 1658, with the Dutch in control of about half the island, the Kingdom of Kandy the other half, and the Portuguese expelled.