The Akersloot Bastion
Named after the hometown of Admiral Wilhelm Coster, the commander of the Dutch forces that captured Galle from the Portuguese in 1640, the Akersloot Bastion is one of the smaller strongpoints of this fort. The shallow waters and rocky shores at this spot provide a natural defence that didn’t necessitate the higher ramparts that face the open sea. Nevertheless, this bastion covers the approaches to Galle Bay and the harbour, and had seven cannon in position. Immediately behind the strongpoint is the Dutch Hospital, and the Akersloot Bastion was often used as a makeshift mortuary and for post-mortem examinations. The Galle Fort fell to the British in 1796 and, ever since, the bastion has functioned as the harbour master’s residence. It is one of the few portions of the fort’s ramparts that is not open to the public. Visible above the Akersloot Bastion is a breadfruit tree (Artocarpus altilis), and it is believed to be the first one ever planted on the island of Sri Lanka, by the Dutch. This was shot from the Triton Bastion and, beyond the ramparts, the modern town of Galle can be seen to the north, on the far side of the bay. Sri Lanka, September 2016.
For more on the historic Galle Fort, see my cover story, Climbing the Walls, in the January 2016 issue of Serendib, the inflight magazine of SriLankan Airlines.