Galle Fort – Sri Lanka (03.07.19)

Now that FCO Travel Advice against all but essential travel to Sri Lanka has been amended, my mind, prompted also by the Cricket World Cup, turns to Galle Fort, which overlooks one of the most iconic and picturesque cricket grounds in the world.

Set on the southwest coast of Sri Lanka in the Bay of Galle, the spectacular ramparted Galle Fort and inner Old Town form one of Asia’s true gems. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the charming, low-key cobbled streets draw visitors as effectively today as its regal ramparts kept them away over the past four centuries.

Locally known as the Dutch Fort, the battlements that rise above the surrounding Indian Ocean have kept the citizens of Galle safe not only from foreign forces but also from forces of nature. The most notable example being the devasting tsunami of 2004.

As an introduction I highly recommend a full circumnavigation of the ramparts. Wandering along the top, you can spend a couple of entertaining hours soaking up the fabulous ocean views and enjoying many a glance down over the Old Town, with its winding streets, closely pressed churches, town houses, mosque, mansions, museums and colourful market shops.

It’s a magnificent, classic, military fortification with a gentle and inviting interior, all built on top of a south-facing protuberance of land.

The most impressive and enjoyable of spots to chill is the huge and marvellous fortification area overlooking the Galle Test Cricket Ground. I have spent many an hour over the decades catching rays, with my feet dangling over the parapet.

Playground to all, the wide-eyed ramparts offer a perfect vantage point from which to view one of the world’s most exciting and historic sporting venues. And all within striking distance of Sri Lanka’s most impressive south coast regions.

Located at the mouth of the River Bou Regreg, on north Africa’s Barbary Atlantic coast, and home to half a million residents, it is one of Morocco’s four imperial cities and one of the region’s most exciting UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Rabat is steeped in history, from 1146 when Abd a-Mu’min built the huge fairy-tale fortress, through to the time of Barbary pirates and the Corsair Republics (1627) and onwards to when the French established their protectorate (1912-1930).