Dutch Reformed Church
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About Dutch Reformed Church
Within the walls of the Galle fort, adjoining Amangalla hotel you will a building that is known as a mirror of fine Dutch architecture. This glory belongs to none other than a 300 year old Dutch Reformed Church found facing the Indian Ocean. There are multiple accounts of when this church was built which date back to 1640; however the present building is said to have been built between the years 1752 to 1755.
According to history the building of the church was funded by a Dutch army officer in honor of his long awaited daughter’s birth. Whilst you observe the outer structure of the church notice the cross shape that it’s meant to resemble. Although this shape is not clearly visible if you look close enough you will be able to identify that the left and right arms of the cross are truncated resembling the arms of the cross.
Just a little tip, prior to exploring the church try and befriend the caretaker who will be able to give you some history to the objects found within and outside the church.
What to see
- As you step into the church the first things that will strike you as odd is the floor, which is heavily paved with gravestones. Some of these gravestones have carvings of skulls and crossbones- a symbol that is rarely found in a church. The oldest gravestone dates back to the year 1662.
- There is a beautiful stained glass that filters light into colourful transparent sheet that adorns the floor. This stained glass is said to have been recently built by Dutch experts in consultation with Sri Lankan architects during the restoration project of the church.
- Towards the south wing of the church there is an old pipe organ with manual bellows, which is not currently used but gives us a glimpse into the past.
- Adjoining the church there is a small square patch of green grass that has gravestone neatly lined up against the wall. North of the cemetery there are two Burial chambers which can be accessed via a flight of steps. The chamber’s entrance is marked by lime-stone arches. It’s said that the chambers were used to hold the embalmed remains of significant Dutch persons.
- Also ask the caretaker about the underground tunnels which run from the church to the Governor’s House that is located next to a hotel.