Galle is a coastal town on the south-west of Sri Lanka. According to archaeological research done within this heritage zone, archaeological heritage of the historical age and archaeological sites of the colonial period have been identified. Archaeological and historical evidence confirm that the Galle harbour had been a trade centre since the beginning of the Christian era where ships of both the east and the west sailed. The fact that Galle had been marked in a map prepared by Ptolemy in 139 AC is ample testimony that Galle had been a famous trade centre.
The Galle Fort was built by the Portuguese in 1588 and since then this zone including the Galle Fort came under direct attack by the Dutch and the English. As a result, life of the people of this zone came under European influence. Western cultural features mixed in all areas such as architecture, art, language, dress, names and religion, etc. The ancient town located within the Galle Fort that is the centralised heritage site is still alive. This was declared as a World Heritage Site in 1996 by UNESCO.
Marine archaeological research is done by the Central Cultural Fund centred on the ancient Galle harbour and the Oceanic Museum has been set up here displaying the ancient marine heritage and the cultural heritage of this heritage site. Further, heritage management in several places within this zone is done by the Central Cultural Fund.