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20160129_Sri Lanka_4218 Galle sRGB | by Dan Lundberg
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20160129_Sri Lanka_4218 Galle sRGB

For a fee (around US$7) an entrepreneurial daredevil will make a running dive off Flag Rock, the bastion at the southernmost end of the Fort from which the Dutch signaled approaching ships. He’s obviously a free show for all who happen to be around when he finds someone willing to pay.

 

Galle (pronounced ‘gawl’ in English) owes its prominence to the arrival of Europeans starting with a Portuguese fleet blown off course in 1505 on its way to the Maldives. The Portuguese built a fort beginning in 1589 that was replaced following the Dutch takeover in 1640. Galle became the main port for Sri Lanka for 200 years. By the time the British gained control in 1796, maritime trade was already starting to shift to Colombo. Sri Lanka became independent in 1948. The solid walls of the Fort coupled with the Dutch predilection for good drainage limited the damage inflicted on Galle’s old quarter by the 2004 tsunami.

 

The Old Town of Galle and its Fortifications became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988.

 

On Google Earth:

Flag Rock 6° 1'25.35"N, 80°13'3.06"E

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Taken on January 29, 2016