The first thing to look at in Çanakkale is the Dardanelles (Hellespont,
Çanakkale Boğazı), the broad strait
with a fast current that separates Gallipoli and Europe from Çanakkale
Also known as the Hellespont,
Dardanelles is also famous as a challenge
to swimmers. Legend has
it that a youth named Leander swam
it nightly to secretly visit his
lover Hero on the
far shore, but one night was swept
away to his death by the swift current.
Lord Byron famously
swam it, as have many others since.
This critical maritime
transport route has been contested
for millennia, ever since the Trojans and
the Achaeans did
battle for control of it—the Trojan
An easy way to survey the Dardanelles
is to make the short voyage across
from Çanakkale on a ferryboat to
either Kilitbahir or Eceabat, and return.
The history of Çanakkale and this
region is pretty much the story of
the Dardanelles, as symbolized by the mighty 15th-century fortresses (Çimenlik and Kilitbahir)
built on both sides of the strait
to control shipping.
Çanakkale makes the best base for visiting the Gallipoli battlefields on the Gallipoli peninsula across the Dardanelles from Çanakkale. If you don't have your own vehicle, you probably want to take a tour because the historic sites are spread over many kilometers on the peninsula.
You can even tour the battlefields on a long day-tour from Istanbul.
Otherwise, you can hike through the most significant area of battle. More...
Museum (Askeri Müzesi) in Çimenlik
fortress is open to visits, and it's
right in Çanakkale, an easy walk
from the main square, ferry docks,
and clock tower. (Here's
more on the Gallipoli campaign
Near Çimenlik is the Naval
Museum with exhibits on the
Gallipoli campaign of 1915-16, most
famous of which is a model of the mine-layer Nusrat.
After Allied minesweepers cleared the
mines, the Nusrat re-laid some
under cover of night so that when the
Allied fleet attempted to pass the
strait the next day and get to Constantinople,
three Allied ships were sunk, sending
the rest into retreat.
Müzesi) is more than 2 km
(1.3 miles) south of the main square
and clock tower, a walk of about
25 to 30 minutes. Exhibits range
from ancient fossils through the
Bronze Age to more modern
times, with some
exhibits being about Troy.
—by Tom Brosnahan