Tuk tuk drives through the entrance of the old Dutch gate with British Coat of Arms above.

© Linda_K/Shutterstock

Old Gate

Top choice in Galle

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 Oostindische Compagnie (Dutch East India Company), are inscribed in the stone with the date 1669, flanked by two lions and topped by a cockerel. A section of the fortifications here also served as a spice warehouse.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Galle attractions

1. National Maritime Museum

0.02 MILES

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…

2. Court Square

0.05 MILES

This leafy, shady square is still a hub of legal activity and has several lawyers' chambers.

3. Marine Archeological Museum

0.06 MILES

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…

4. Dutch Governor's House

0.06 MILES

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.

5. Bell Tower

0.07 MILES

A small whitewashed bell tower supported by four slim pillars.

6. All Saints Anglican Church

0.08 MILES

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

7. Zwart Bastion

0.08 MILES

Guarding Galle harbour, this bastion was enlarged by the Dutch in 1730 and contains a tunnel (which has not been excavated), possibly once used as a…

8. Dutch Reformed Church

0.09 MILES

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