The ancient Muslim port of Galle, reputedly the biblical Tarshish, has been alternately occupied by Portuguese, Dutch and British troops since the 16th century. The European influences are clearly visible in the faded colonial architecture. The Dutch style Old Town is enclosed behind the imposing Fort walls and is now a World Heritage site. The Dutch Museum has period rooms depicting life as a colony of the Dutch and the Martin Wickramsinghe Folk Art Museum has a remarkable collection of masks and carriages. Sri Lanka has had a strategic importance for the world's traders since the 18th century, culminating in the 19th and 20th century obsession with the tea plant so a visit to the Talgaswella Tea Estate is worthwhile .The nearby Unawatuna beaches are stunning.
The following 14 cruises call at Galle.
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