Galle Fort begun by the Portuguese in the 16th century, expanded by the Dutch in the 17th Century and consolidated by the British in the 19th century, is not a historical ruin but has been transformed into a living, thriving contemporary settlement. Located at the southwest corner of the island the Fort covers 52ha and contains within its broad, grey granite rampart walls, nearly 500 houses.
Entrance to the Fort is through either of two main gates, one of which contains the Dutch Coat of Arms on one side and the British on the other. The Fort is Number 200 on UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites and is free to enter and explore. The cobbled streets are lined with houses from the Dutch and British periods, with some art deco masterpieces, many of which have been converted into boutique shops and stylish guest houses