The old fishing sailboat in the maritime museum in Galle, Sri Lanka.

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Marine Archeological Museum


This spacious maritime museum occupies a colossal old spice warehouse built by the Dutch and dating back to the late 17th century. The structure was originally part of the main gateway to the Fort and it still forms part of its ramparts. An introductory video presentation sets the scene and there are interactive displays that illuminate the city’s maritime past, including the many shipwrecks in Galle's surrounding waters. It covers two levels that snake through the city walls.

After decades of neglect, the building was derelict by the millennium, but it reopened in 2010 as a museum after two years of renovations.

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Nearby Galle attractions

1. Bell Tower

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A small whitewashed bell tower supported by four slim pillars.

2. Dutch Governor's House

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A striking building that dates from 1683, over its doorway is a cockerel and the crest of Galle. It's not open to the public.

3. All Saints Anglican Church

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A handsome Victorian Gothic structure dating from the mid-19th century. It boasts impressive stained-glass windows, beautifully carved timber arches and…

4. National Maritime Museum

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Nestled in the old walls, this small museum is worth a quick look for its skeleton of a Bryde's whale and a very useful model that explains how tsunamis…

5. Dutch Reformed Church

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Originally built in 1640, the present building dates from 1752. Its floor is paved with gravestones from Dutch cemeteries, while other impressive features…

6. Old Gate

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A beautifully carved British coat of arms tops the entrance to the Old Gate on the outer side. Inside, the letters VOC, standing for Verenigde…

7. Amangalla

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The Amangalla was built in 1684 to house the Dutch governor and officers. Later, as the New Oriental Hotel, it was the lodging of choice for 1st-class P&O…

8. National Museum

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This museum is housed in what's thought to be the oldest Dutch building in Galle, dating back to 1686. Displays are somewhat dusty and dated but include…