Let’s Talk About Canakkale
A beautiful and mysterious landscape full of tradition
Gateway to the Dardenelles
The nearest major Turkish city closest to the ancient site of Troy and the Battlefields of Gallipoli. Canakkale is on the southern coast of the Dardanelles at the narrowest point. Its province, like Istanbul, is in both Europe and Asia. Canakkale is a stopping off point for tourist visiting both these places from Istanbul and also for people travelling on down the Aegean Coast. It is a nice harbour side city and because it has many universities it has a young populace which bring a nice energy to the city. The name derives from an Ottoman fortress named Kale and as was it was famous for its pottery, hence the Canak Kale or port fortress.
Ancient history dates back pre 8000 BC however its real history started with Troy. The region was settled by Aeolian Greeks and then came under the control of the Lydian, then later the Persians. Defeated by Alexander the Great en route to Asia it came under the reign of the Kingdom of Pergamon in the 2nd CAD.
The area was an important as a rich trade centre during Roman times. The Arabs passed through during the 7th and 8th centuries en route to attack Constantinople. The Ottomans gained control of the Gallipoli Peninsula by the 13th Century.
During WWI the Allies in their attempt to capture the Ottoman Capital of Constantinople, hence securing sea routes to Russia, began the Gallipoli Campaign, known as the Canakkale War in Turkey. The Allied attack began with a Naval Fleet of and submarines attempting to break through the Dardanelles however they were sunk by Turkish guns and mines on 18 March 1915. The Gallipoli ANZAC campaign on 25 April 1915 was intended to gain the Peninsula by land which resulted in the defeat of the Allies in a deadly campaign. The deaths of more than 250,000 from all sides was the result. From the harbourside in Canakkale you can see the Turkish Flag (the colour red signifies the colour of Turkish blood spilt) and the Soldier emblazoned on the hillside with the words in Turkish – BEND DOWN OH TRAVELLER ON YOUR KNEES – BENEATH THIS EARTH BEATS THE HEART OF A NATION
What to See in Canakkale
Canakkale is the base for visiting both Troy and the Battlefieds but in the town itself there is the fortress of Cimenlik with its Military and Naval Museum which are well laid out and certainly worth a visit. The nearby islands of Gokcaada and Bozcaada are accessible and can be visited easily. Bozcaada is famous for its wines and has some fine beaches. It ıs also great to stroll around the harbourside and the town and mix with the locals. On the harbourside is a huge wooden horse used in the making of the movie Troy – great for a photo opportunity ! Inland past Troy the lovely town small town of Assos can be included for an overnight stay. The annual Dardanelles Swim takes place in August and long distance swimmers come from all around the world to take part. The back streets of Canakkale are also interesting just to stroll around in.
What to Buy in Canakkale
Canakkale is today a bustling modern town and there are the usual shops catering for the young university students. However you can wander the back streets and find pottery in the small local streets.
Where to Eat in Canakkale
Along the harbourside there many outdoor restaurants selling fresh fish and Turkish dishes. Yelova restaurant is an up market restaurant for dinner but there are many choices. In the back streets behind the habour around the lovely Clock Tower Square there are many local cheap restaurants selling good wholesome food. There is live music and the odd disco around.
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