Gallipoli Peninsula Historical National Park

Gallipoli Peninsula Historical National Park
The Gelibolu Peninsula Historical National Park, with a total area of 33,000 hectares, was founded in 1973 and is on the United Nations list of Parks and Protection Areas. It is in the province of Canakkale, at the southern edge of the Gelibolu Strait, on the European shore of Dardanelles (Canakkale Bogazi).
This area is known for the war cemeteries and memorials for the Turkish and foreign soldiers killed during the Canakkale Sea and shore battles in 1915. There are sunken ships, trenches, castles, towers and hundreds of remains of the war. In total, there are graves and memorials of around 250,000 Turkish soldiers, and 250,000 from Australia, New Zealand, England and France. Thousands of people visit the war cemeteries every year, and it is one of the most famous sites in Turkey.
Today Gallipoli peninsula serves as a national park nearby Canakkale, where several war memorials and cemetaries belonging to Turks, Australians, New Zealanders, British and French reflect the drama of those days. Every April the 25th, thousands of people from those countries meet here to commemorate the Gallipoli Campaign.
The entire area has been officially registered as a historical site area, and has enormous cultural importance. Within the park, there are also many archaeological sites and monuments, some of which date back to 4000 BC. Between the ancient sites and monuments, there are beaches, bays, an interesting variety of plant life, a salt lake and geological and geomorphologic structures. The thickly wooded hills and valleys of the area are though to have played an important role on the outcome of the war.
To honour the many thousands of soldiers who lost their lives on the Gallipoli Peninsula during World War I, the area is now a national park preserving the memory of that time in history. It includes memorials, monuments, cemeteries, and the natural beauty of the Ariburnu Cliffs and Salt Lake. The Gallipoli battlefields are now part of the 33,000 hectare Gallipoli Peninsula Historical National Park, or the Peace Park.. Driving around the park today, the visitor is struck by the peaceful atmosphere of the pristine coastal forest, green hills, sandy beaches and blue water, in sharp contrast to the fierce battles which were once fought there. All visitors feel the special spirit of this place which played such a significant role in the birth of the Turkish nation.
The Park encompasses the municipality of Eceabat and eight villages. The 10,000 people who live in the Park and work in the area are not, however, sufficiently integrated into the Park's activities.
Gallipoli Peninsula was the site of fierce fighting during the First World War. In 1915, of the million soldiers engaged in the year-long Çanakkale (Dardanelles) naval and Gallipoli land battles, half were lost, wounded, maimed or killed. War is indiscriminate; loss and mutilation were evenly shared among the Ottoman Imperial Army and Navy (Turkish and non-Turkish conscripts and a handful of Germans) on one side, and the Allied Navy and Army (English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh, Maltes e, Egyptian, Sri-Lankan, Pakistani and Indian conscripts to the British Army and Navy; Australian, New Zealand and Canadian soldiers and sailors; French and Tunisian, Gambian and Senegalese conscripts to the French Army and Navy) on the other.
A veritable human tragedy, these battles created their share of heroes whose qualities and conduct, kindled national consciousness and pride and spurred respect, understanding and admiration across nationalities. In this Park we remember and admire those who fought and lost their youth and their lives, too often for something easier felt than understood. But we remember too the brutalities of war meted out to soldier and civilian alike.
Nurturing the idea of peace in the exact place where those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives ... rest in peace ... having lost their lives in this land they have become our sons as well... (Atatürk, 1934), the competition seeks fro m entrants an environment which will give war the place it warrants in a setting dedicated to peace.
The Peace Park Competition looks to the new millennium for inspiration and aims to create a setting where alternatives to war can be imagined and encouraged.
The huge Turkish memorial at the tip of the peninsula can be seen immediately upon entering the Straits. The French and British memorials, along with other Turkish memorials and Seddulbahir Castle , are also nearby. In the ANZAC Cove is one of the most moving memorials in the area: the ANZAC Cemetery and the Ariburnu Monument on which are inscribed the words of Ataturk, capturing the heart of this area. Every year on 25th April, ANZAC day is commemorated with ceremonies attended by visitors from all around the world.
Under the terms of the Armistice with Turkey the British Army re-entered the Peninsula at the end of 1918 and cleared the battlefields of the bodies still unburied.In the nine months of this bitterly fought campaign more than 36,000 Commonwealth servicemen died.The 31 war cemeteries on the Peninsula contain 22,000 graves but it was possible to identify only 9,000 of these.The 13,000 who rest in unidentified graves in the cemeteries,together with the 14,000 whose remains were never found,are commemorated individually by name on the Helles Memorial (British ,Australian and Indian names),the Lone Pine Memorial (Australian and New Zealand names)and the Twelve Tree Copse,Hill 60 and Chunuk Bair Memorials (New Zealand names) Except fir the New Zealand National memorial at Chunuk Bair (which was designed by the New Zealand architect S.Hurst Seager),all the Commonwealth cemeteries and memorials on the Peninsula were designed by Sir Burnet (1857-1938),the distinguished Scottish architect who also designed the war designed the war cemeteries in Palastine for the Commission.The design features which distinguish these cemeteries from other Commonwealt war cemeteries are the use of stone-faced pedestal grave markers instead of headstones,the walled cross feature instead of the free-standing Cross of Sacrifice,and the rubble-walled ha-ha to channel flood water away from the cemeteries. The construction of the cemeteries and memorails was delayed by the turmoil in Turkey in the years after the war,but work was able to proceed after teh Treaty of Lausanne in 1923,which guaranteed the Commission's rights on the Peninsula.The construction phase was complete by 1926 and in that year a pilgrimage of bereaved relatives visited the area for the first time since time since the war. The maintenance of the cemeteries is nowadays underaken by two teams of gardeners,one based in the Helles area and one for the Anzac and Suvla cemeteries ,and a team of craftsmen who look after the fabric of the cemeteries and memorials.The workis controlled by a local supervisor who has an office in the town of Canakkale ,across from the Gallipoli Peninsula.Overall administrative control rests wiht the Commission's Outer Area based in the Comminission's head office building in Maindenhead.