My first trip to the Old Fort.

Trip Start Jan 08, 2014
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Trip End Apr 09, 2014


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Where I stayed
Galle Centre Home.
What I did
Harbour, Old Gate.

Flag of Sri Lanka  , Southern,
Wednesday, February 19, 2014

I had settled myself into my wonderful digs and decided it was time to get straight off and explore which is just what I did.  As I mentioned before, the Fort was going to be the first port of call and I knew where it was.  To be honest, it is hard to miss it as it is pretty large.  This next section is going to be a bit split up as I want to share some of the many images I took over the next few days.  I'll try to do them chronologically and intersperse them with my various VT tips for the benefit of those who do not read my VT pages (and why should you?). 

I wandered past the harbour, passing the beadcart on the way and completely failed to see something rather interesting which I shall tell you about later.  These breadcarts are brilliant although they do have the most annoying tunes which they play incessantly in the manner of an ice-cream van in the UK only at a volume that would shame Sammy Hagar.  I swear that if you put them in a thrash metal music festival they would drown out the band playing the 50K rig onstage.  Talk about piercing!  You certainly won't miss them if you need your daily bread.  Having attempted to regain the sense of hearing, I wandered on to the "old" gate and here our tour begins.

I have been doing quite a bit of research whilst compiling my Virtual Tourist tips and have found it fascinating as I always do.  Again, apologies for the duplication to those that read both the sites I contribute to but I realise there may be the odd "lost soul" that stumbles onto this blog by accident.  Welcome, friend!  Here is what I learned about the "old" gate to start with.

"The rather imposing entrance to the Fort area you see here is known as
the Old Gate and dates back to the 17th century, of which more later,
and until 1897 was the only entrance into the fortifications. As the
images show, it is slightly shabby looking on the outside and rather
better looking on the inside where massive refurbishment has obviously
taken place. I would have thought that on the principle that you never
get a second chance to make a first impression that a little work on the
outside might have been an idea.

Apparently it had a portcullis
and was a second line of defence to the moat which the Portuguese had
built previously and the Dutch then reinforced. There is no evidence of
the portcullis now but walking through it (watch the traffic as there is
no footpath (sidewalk)) you can appreciate just how thick these
defences were.

Here then lies the mystery and if anyone can clear
it up I would be most grateful and amend this tip with due
aknowledgement. My best efforts on the internet have failed to bring a
result.

I know that in the colonial history of Sri Lanka the
British came after the Dutch so why does the British coat of arms on the
exterior bear the date 1668 whilst that of the V.O.C. (Dutch East
Indies Company) on the interior wall bear a date a year later, if my
schoolboy Latin numbering system does not desert me. Answers on a
postcard please!

Update 11/02/2014

Well, it is no longer a mystery! Thanks to the excellent internet research of VT member alza, who directed me to this wonderful blog,
all becomes clear. The 1668 date on the outside of the gate was
apparently put there by the Dutch and when the British took over they
were too gentlemanly to remove it but rather put their own royal coat of
arms above it, so now I know!

So, all that new knowledge (subsequently gained obviously) and we have just got through the gate!
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