Tangalle (in Sinhala: Tan-galla, තංගල්ල) is a small seaside town 35 km. east of Matara. This is a fairly well-known settlement thanks to the oldest fish port, which is located in one of the best and largest bays on the island, and which protected from the ocean by a closed reef. With beautiful beaches, good opportunities for swimming and more than reasonable diving, it's no wonder that for several years this holiday destination has become a hit among vacationers in Sri Lanka, having won the lion's share of tourists on the bored and crowded, bustling west and south-west coast. Tangalle today is the most popular destination on the southern coast. Some say that the name comes from two words «ran» and «gala,» that is, "Gold Rock." The legend refers to the time when a certain holy person participated in a ritual meal, and in gratitude for the food given to him turned stones into gold. Others argue that the name of the city means "Protective Rock", because long since the city was protected from the waves of the ocean by a long stony slab that projected into the sea through the mouth of the bay.
And today Tangalle spread and absorbed the former villages adjoining the settlement, so that now Tangalle consists not of one bay only, but of a whole chain of bays.
The most popular excursion from Tangalle is a stunning cave temple of Mulkirigala, 20 km to the north. You climb the numerous rock steps to reach a series of natural caves with so many wall paintings and Buddha statues.
In one cave there is a library in which in 1826 the British administrator George Ternor made the most important discovery in the history of Sri Lanka. He found some long-considered lost ola (manuscripts on palm leaves), which contain the key to the translation of Mahavamsa, the «Great Chronicle». Study of Terura Tiki or Commentary allowed to translate Mahavamsa from Pali first into English, and then to Sinhalese language. This translation has allowed scientists around the world to study the events-rich and often dramatic history of the island, from 543 to a relatively modern day.
Undoubtedly, Tangalle is considered an excellent port. The Dutch were the first Europeans to discover the marine advantages of Tangalle , and had an impact on the construction of such notable urban sites as the Holiday House, Court House and Fort. The Dutch fort stands on the slope above the bay. Unfortunately, it underwent significant changes, and in the middle of the 19th century it turned into a prison. This fort is different from many other Dutch times, because there are no massive ramparts. Tangalle Fort carries four main walls 12 meters high, containing a space similar to rhombus. The British also used Tangalle as an anchorage. In addition, the tea planters began to develop it as a resort, finding pure white sand and falling in love with deep blue water, the best antidote to life on sometimes cold and wet hills.
Visit the picturesque city, unlike the west, south-west and east of the resorts, tied to the monsoon rains, it is possible year-round, because from Tangalle and up to Hambantota the coast of Sri Lanka is in a unique area of a semi-dry climate, which does not give a chance to pouring rain of monsoons to reach this area. Here almost 350 days of the year the sun shines, and the air temperature is almost unchanged throughout the year, that is + 29 + 33 degrees! Tangalle — the land of white and golden sands and the warming sun — this is a place that can not be missed when you visit the south of Sri Lanka.
However, the city itself, if you dream of secluded paradise beaches, is not too much suitable for relaxation and detachment from the noise of civilization. The real treasures of the beaches of Tangalle — outside the urban area. Tangalle has spread along the coast of the ocean. Getting to Tangalle from the west, you can choose such beaches as Goyambokka, Seenimodara or Pallikkudawa located in a double bay to the south of the city. It is relatively crowded. And in the city there are enough stones and boulders, and the waves are not always so calm that the sea was suitable for bathing. Neighborhood with the port and fishing grounds impose an imprint on the cleanliness of the environment.
Outside the city towards the east to Hambantota, behind the main harbor there are large bays, Medaketiya and Medilla. Medaketiya, in particular, has fine white sand, there are excellent conditions for swimming and the beach is rarely crowded. But the best and perfectly clean beaches are located far from Tangalle — it's amazing beauty Rekawa, Kahandamodora, Gurupokuna and Kalamatiya. In addition to the cleanest and deserted, pristine and pristine beaches, the area has many attractions in the natural environment. For example, a place to observe sea turtles on the Rekawa beach, the mixed Kahandamodara Lagoon with a myriad of birds and excellent fishing, bird sanctuary in Kalamatiya on the same lagoon, and as well as the botanical garden and agro-technological park in Bata Atha and the national park of Ussangoda.