Canakkale,A Magnificent City with a Great History Canakkale is located between two continents Asia and Europe, it is divided into two parts by a 60km long strait. City of Canakkale called Hellespontos and Dardanelles in ancient times, the strait has always had a vital geopolitical position. Canakkale has been hosting a great deal of civilizations for about 5000 years.
There are many points to be told about Canakkale. Gallipoli, a peninsula which witnessed a great wartime between Turks and Anzacs in 1915 and to which Anzacs come on 25 April of every year and held ceremonies for their ancestors (The event is called Anzac Day);
Archaic city of Troy which carries a history of nearly 5000 years including many invasions and wars due to its strategical position.
A very captivating city Assos about which Homeros pointed out that Leleges had lived in the southern part of Tria and they had been seamen or pirates.
Bozcaada which was called Leukophrys in the Archaic age and Tenedos in Greek mythology and gave 3000-year-old graveyards found in the excavations to the Archaelogical Museum of Canakkale.
Gokceada the biggest island of Turkey, which holds a wide history and many cultures some of which have been discovered so far and some of which are still waiting under the soil for daylight.
Mount Ida where the mythology tells us that the first beauty contest among Aphrodite, Hera and Athena was held.
There are two essential castles on both sides of Dardanelles , Kilitbahir/Kilid al-bahr (Key of the Sea) is the fortress located on the European coast of Dardanelles. Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror built it in 1453 in case the Venetians make an attempt to capture Constantinople. The seven storey tower of the castle both hosted the garrison and gave opportunity to recognize the enemy ships early. And the other castle is Cimenlik Kalesi/Kale-i Sultaniye (Kale Sultanieh). It contributed to Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror's plans to defend the new capital (Constantinople) of his empire.
Besides, there is a naval museum in Canakkale close to the Kale Sultanieh. Cimenlik Park hosts this museum and a make-up of a mine layer named Nusrat which was used by the Turkish army in Gallipoli Campaign. This 1/1 scale maquette ship is also a museum. Now that the subject is museums, there is an archaelogical museum as well in Canakkale. There are many ruins and more than thousands-year-old pieces found in excavations. You can see them inside and outside the museum.
We can put aside the bloody wars and museums,etc. and reach to the visual facilities a person can find in Canakkale. Firstly, there is a wooden horse which was used in the movie Troy. Then, it was given to Canakkale as a gift. Moreover, especially with its ledlights at nights today the coast line provides you with a pleasing promenade. When you walk towards the naval museum you will find two great tea gardens. Drinking tea in the Donanma Tea Garden or in the Sakir's is something like tradition in Canakkale. If you look at the sea in wintertime, before the sea you will see the fishermen who throw their fishing rods as far away as they can as if the more far away threw they the fishing rods the more or bigger fish they would catch. And the historical Mirrored Bazaar is one of the most inviting places in Canakkale. You can buy souvenirs and see many kinds of hand-made pieces there. We shall tell a little also about the historical Yalı Hamamı (Turkish Bath). It was constructed in 1620 and which can help you get rid of the stress and fatigue of the day. There is also a Clock Tower in Canakkale.
Consequently, with these features and its great history, Canakkale is really a wonderful province to see. We can find a clue about what Canakkale has been for centuries and think what it is today in the following qoutations.
Canakkale is not only name of a city but also the province including the battelefileds and memorials of GALLIPOLI, the legendary ancient city TROY, the mystical and fascinating ancient city ASSOS, the popular historical resort island BOZCAADA, the impressive nature of MOUNT IDA and lovely GOKCEADA . According to the reports of Ministry of Culture and Tourism, there are about 175 archaeological, 34 natural and 5 historical sites in the province of Canakkale.
The city of Canakkale lends its name to the strait, whose shores touch both Europe and Asia, while connecting the sea of Marmara to the Aegean. Canakkale hosts the 60 km (38 miles) long strait, which is well-known as Dardanelles. It would be a privilege to enjoy the impressive scene of dardanelles, which is one of the two straits that split the continents Asia and Europe. Throughout the history, anyone who controlled this gateway, commanded a highly strategic area. This has stimulated the importance of canakkale province as the homeland of many civilizations and critical battles throughout the centruies. According to the Archaeologists, there are about 200 ancient sites in the province of Canakkale, where many of them are still unexcavated.
Hellespont is the ancient name for this strait. The history of the area can be traced back to 3000 B.C. According to the mythology, the children of King Athamas, Phryxus and Helle, were sent away by their step mother, Nephele, the goddess of cloud. They were mounted on a flying ram with a golden fleece. While they were flying over the straits, Pincess Helle fell off the ram into the water. Thus, the name Hellespont appeared. Phryxus flew to the Colchis, where he sacrificed the ram to the Zeus and hung its golden fleece on a tree, to be guarded by a fierce dragon.
Another commonly told story of the region is about the towns ‘ Abydose ’ on the Asian shore and ‘ Sestus ’ on the European shore. Leander was a handsome youth from Abydos, who was in love with Hero, a priestess of Aphrodite. Every night, he was swimming from Abydos to Sestus to see her. One night there was a terrible storm and he had never arrived. Hero, asuming that Leander had drowned, threw herself into the sea.
Troy (Truva), also called Ilium, is located at Hissarlik on the east side of the river Scamander, where the straits join with the Agean Sea. Wooden Horse and the Archilles' Hell come from here. Troy is famous for several reasons. It is a site that was continually occupied from the early Bronze Age to early Byzantine times. It is also associated with the sagas of the Trojan War written by Homer in ‘ the iliad and odyssey ’, which is the well-known in European literature. Homer immortalized Truva (Troy) in his stories of King Priam, Hector, Paris and the beautiful Helen. Archaelogical digs have revealled nine cities with various ruins of city walls, typical house- foundations, a temple and a theather. A symbolic wooden Trojan horse commemorates the legandary war. Historical port, Alexandria – Troas, was constructed during 3rd century B. C., and St. Paul had visited here two times, and his third missioner voyage to Assos was started from here.
The excavations of Troy can be traced back to 1870s, which can be considered as another historical event by its own. From 1988 onwards, excavations have been directed by Professor Manfred Korfman of Tubingen University in Germany.
Apollo Smintheus Temple, where first episode of Iliad epic emerged, is located around Gulpinar village. Temple ruins and pieces of art revealed from the temple can be visited in here. Furthermore, Zeus’s Cavern, can be visited on the front side of a cliff, which is at the upper side of Adatepe Village of Kucukkuyu.
Other familiar historical names can be stated as follow ; Neandria, Alexandria-Troas, Assos, Chryse, Dardonos and Lampsakos. The traces of several civilizations can be found in the province of Canakkale. The persians were here in the 5th century B.C.; the persian King Xerves built his bridge of boats across the narrowest point of Dardanelles to land 100.000 troops on Thrace as part of his planned conquest of Europe. Alexander the Great began his eastern campaign by crossing the strait. The Romans took over the area between 2 B.C until 395 A.D., later on the Byzantine Empire ruled the area. There were Arab and Crusader invasions in the following centuries. The Karasiogullari, a Turkish tribe, came into the area in the 14 th century and made Balikesir their capital. In the 15th century, Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror built citadels on both banks of the strait and founded the city of Canakkale.
Dardanelles also played an important role in the first world war . The eight month-long struggle between the Allies and Turkish forces is known as Gallipoli Campaign. Serious casualties were given on both sides. Several countries have involved this battle such as Turkey, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, France, and so on. Every year on April 25th ( The so called Anzac Day ) , Gallipoli is invaded again not by the Allied troops, but by their descendants, other veterans, and tourists. The sounds of the riffle fire ring out at Anzac Cove, but this time as a salute to hereos by the Turkish Honor Guard.
When you reach galliboli pennisula you can feel the spirit of the heroes from several countries. Today galliboli pennisula is a national park, which acts as an open air museum and is open to all visitors who come to pay respect in many memorials. The following words are quoted from Ataturk , the famous Turkish commander of Gallipoli and the founders of modern Turkish Republic.
Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives...!
You are now lying in the soul of a friendly country,
Therefore rest in peace. There is no differences between
the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side.
You, the mothers who sent their sons far away
from their countries, wipe away your tears. Your sons are now
lying in our bosom and are in peace. After having lost their lives on this land,
they have become our sons as well."