Helles Memorial, Cape
World War I battle for
control of the Dardanelles (Hellespont)
strait was fought mainly on Turkey's Gallipoli
peninsula (map), with appalling
casualties. Around 100,000 were
killed and 400,000 wounded during
the nine-month campaign (1915-1916) between the Ottoman Empire and the Allied powers (British Empire and France).
the Gallipoli battlefields are silent,
preserved as a national historic park strewn
with marble and bronze monuments,
among the most emotionally touching
places in Turkey.
Planning Your Visit
best base for visits to Gallipoli,
the Dardanelles and Troy is
the town of Çanakkale,
on the Dardanelles' Anatolian shore
on the Gallipoli peninsula shore, is closer
but has fewer accommodations. Kilitbahir, across the Dardanelles from Çanakkale, has a useful ferryboat dock, but no other travel services.
nearest major airport is Istanbul,
although Çanakkale has
a small airport which receives scheduled flights in the busy summer months. More...
The battlefields on the peninsula cover an extensive
area from Abide - Cape Helles at the southern
tip of the peninsula north for over
35 km (22 miles) to the Anafarta
hills in the north.
The central point is the Çanakkale Epic Presentation Center (Çanakkale Destanı Tanıtım Merkezi) at Kabatepe, a dramatic building offering an elaborate hour-long multimedia presentation on the Gallipoli campaign, and a number of museum exhibits.
If you plan to attend the ANZAC
Day commemoration ceremonies, you must make special
The easiest way to tour Gallipoli peninsula is with your own vehicle but, failing that, there is one minibus route; you can hike; or you can take a local day-tour. More...
A Bit of History
armies and navies have coveted the
strategic Dardanelles strait
since the days of the Trojans because
it controls sea traffic between the Black
Sea, the Sea
of Marmara, and the Aegean/Mediterranean.
Only 1.2 km wide at its narrowest
point (Kilitbahir - Çanakkale), and over 100
meters (328 feet) deep, the Dardanelles is also
the key to Constantinople (Istanbul):
warships that could get through the
Dardanelles could easily train their
guns on the sultan's
palace in Istanbul and bring
Empire to its knees.
British navy wanted very much to
get its battleships through the Dardanelles
and attack Constantinople to
knock the Ottoman
Empire, an ally of the Central
Powers, out of World War I. This would allow another Allied power, Imperial Russia, to use the Ottoman straits (Dardanelles and Bosphorus) for shipments of vital military and other supplies.
forces, some of whom were commanded
by Lieutenant Colonel Mustafa
Kemal (later Atatürk)
knew that if the Allied ships got
through, it might mean the conquest
of their country. It was here that Kemal proved his brilliance and courage as a military leader, which made him a national hero, and later the founder of the Turkish Republic.
—by Tom Brosnahan
& Dardanelles from
cemetery at Lone Pine.