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Galle Face Green in Sri Lanka: World Class Urban Park

Located in the heart of the business capital of of the country; Colombo, the Galle Face Green in Sri Lanka is a five hectare ocean-side urban park, which stretches for a half kilometre along the coast.

It is a magnificent place to witness a marvelous sun set over western coast of Sri lanka. The area was initially put to plan and laid out in 1859 by Governor Sir Henry George Ward, although the original Galle Face Green extended over a much larger area than is seen today.

The Galle Face Green in Sri Lanka was initially used for many recreational activities. These include activities such as horse racing and golf. It was also used as an area to play cricket, polo, football tennis and rugby.

Galle Face Green in Sri Lanka: History and the Name

The originally planned Galle face extended over a much larger area than what can be seen today. The promenade was initially laid out by the Dutch for a military purpose. They used it as a means to enable their cannons a strategic line of fire against the Portuguese. One version of how the name Galle Face is derived, is that it is from the original Dutch name for the fortifications.

After many years of planning and hard work the promenade was subsequently completed in 1859.

Galle Face Green in Sri Lanka: Sports

Horse races were held in the Galle Face Green in Sri Lanka in the early 1820s, during the time of the then British Governor Sir Edward Barnes (1776–1838). For this an area which was previously marshy land was filled with earth and leveled. The area became known as the Colpetty Race Course, was one and a half miles long and was used for horse races until 1893 after which horse racing moved to the Colombo Racecourse.

In 1879, a number of British expatriates introduced golf to Ceylon playing on the Galle Face Green. It was there that the Colombo Golf Club was first inaugurated without a clubhouse or a proper golf course. The club had its first Annual General Meeting on 13 March 1880 at the Colombo Club. Later the club was moved to its present location in Borella after the promeande became more crowded and the golf club faced with having to share the ground with numerous other sports and the general public.

The first Royal–Thomian cricket match was played on 15-17 July 1879 at Galle Face Green, which is today the site of the Taj Samudra Hotel. It was said that the two teams had to row across the Beira Lake in boats to reach the Galle Face Grounds. Colombo Academy won the inaugural encounter by 56 runs.

Galle Face Green in Sri Lanka: As it is Today

The Galle Face Green is a strip of land spanning 5 hectares that is located between the Galle Road and the Indian Ocean. This area is now considered the largest open space in Colombo and one of the main highlights of the city. It is an extremely popular destination for many people including children, vendors,
teenagers, lovers, kite flyers, merrymakers and all those who want to indulge in their favorite pastimes next to the sea under the open sky.

Usually on weekends the Galle Face Green in Sri Lanka is filled with people and very busy. You can find many day trippers, picnickers and food vendors if you manage to visit the promenade during a holiday. There are two large hotels that border the strip of the promenade. The Ceylon Inter-Continental Hotel and at the other end, is the quaint Galle Face Hotel, one of Sri Lanka’s oldest and most popular hotels. It is an entire world on its own with a good dose of old world charm including old furniture, hand carved doors, balconies and high ceilings.

This architectural marvel from the colonial era was established in 1864 and it has since given residence to many great royalties such as Prince Philip and the Duke of Edinburgh whose first car is placed in the hotel museum.

Galle Face Green in Sri Lanka: Visitor reviews

“Ocean view … after work … de-stress walk! Better to do it when is not sunny day or late afternoon.”

“This is the first sightseeing for me. It pulled twice again during my 10 day trip, very beautiful neat beach with local foods(I tried in Nana food ) . Good to visit during late evening time. I will really miss this place for sure.”