Old Gate (outside)

Galle Fort, Sri Lanka

Galle, pronounced "Gaul," is located on the southern coast of Sri Lanka. Its name probably derives from the Sinhalese word "gala," meaning "rock" (an alternate derivation, from the Portuguese "galo," meaning "rooster," is sometimes mooted.) It may be the site of ancient Tarshish, a city mentioned in the Bible as a trading partner of Solomon's kingdom.

The Portuguese first built a fort here in 1588. This was captured by the Dutch in 1640, greatly expanded, and surrendered to the British in 1796. Its history is summarized in the photo on this page, which shows the outer face of the Old Gate. The small plaque dated 1668 is from the Dutch occupation. Above it, the British carved their national coat of arms after the takeover.