|The city of Çanakkale
lies at the narrow,1,200 meter entrance to the Çanakkale Strait that connects
the Sea of Marmara and the Aegean whose shores touch both Europe and Asia.
Passenger and car ferries run daily between Çanakkale on the Asian side;
Eceabat and Kilitbahir on the European side. Yachts navigating the straits
stop at the well-equipped Çanakkale Marina to allow tourists more time in
the area. Hotels, restaurants and cafes along the promenade, offer a place
to enjoy the comings and goings of the harbor, and view of the Kilitbahir
Fortress and the Çanakkale Archaeological Museum.
In 1451, Sultan Mehmet II, later the conqueror
of Istanbul, built one fortress on the European side of the Çanakkale
Strait at Kilitbahir and one on
the opposite shore at Çimenlik to control the
passage of ships through the strait. Today the Çimenlik fortress
serves as a military museum dedicated to the Çanakkale Battle.
Gelibolu Peninsula Historical National Park
was established to honor the 500,000 soldiers who gave their lives on
Gelibolu also known as Gallipoli. In 1915, Mustafa
Kemal, commander of the Turkish army, led a successful campaign to drive
out the allied powers from the area. The park includes memorials, monuments,
cemeteries, the natural beauty of the Ariburnu Cliffs
and Tuz Gölü (Salt Lake). The beauty of the
green hills, sandy beaches and blue waters provides an honored resting
place for the soldiers who bravely fought and died in this historic battle.
You cannot help but sense the heart of the Turkish nation in the special
spirit of this place.
The largest of the Turkish islands, Gökçeada
is ringed with pristine bays. Its hills, covered in the contrasting greens
of pines and olive trees are dotted with sacred springs and monasteries.
Regularly scheduled ferry boats make the trip from Çanakkale and Kabatepe.
In August, islanders and tourists gather for colorful local fairs.
As you approach Bozcaada
Island, the Venetian castle commands your attention. Then your eyes are
drawn to the glistening white houses and the restaurants and cafes which
line the promenade. Wine seems as plentiful as water on this island; a
circuit reveals many vineyards and wine cellars. There are good sandy
beaches at Ayazma, Poyraz
Homer immortalized Truva
(Troy) in the stories of King Priamus, Hector, Paris and the beautiful
Helen. Archaeological excavations have revealed nine separate periods
of settlement and the ruins of city walls, house foundations, a temple
and a theatre. A symbolic wooden Trojan horse commemorates the legendary
war. The ancient harbor of Alexandria-Troas was built in the 3rd century
B.C. St. Paul visited here twice, and on his third missionary journey,
he continued from here to Assos.
The acropolis of Assos
(Behramkale) is 238 meters above sea level and the Temple
of Athena was constructed on this site in the 6th century
B.C. This Doric temple is being restored to its former glory and role
as guardian of the Biga Peninsula and Edremit
Gulf. Linger to see the moonlight scattered through the
temple ruins, or rise early for the gentle awakening of dawn over the
acropolis, from the top of which you can take in the magnificent vista
of the Gulf of Edremit; and you will appreciate why this heavenly location
was chosen. On the terraces descending to the sea are agoras, a gymnasium
and a theatre. From the northern corner of the acropolis, you can see
a mosque, a bridge and fortress, all built in the l4th century by the
Ottoman Sultan Murat I. Below lies a tiny and idyllic ancient harbor.
Assos has gained the reputation of being the center of the Turkish art
community with its lively, friendly and bohemian atmosphere. This may
be the holiday you will remember for years to come. 25 km west of Behramkale,
in the village of Gülpinar is the ancient city
of Chryse where the 2nd century B.C: temple of Apollon Smintheus is located.
15 km west of Gülpınar on an unmarked road along the jagged coastline
lies Babakale, a scenic village of houses terraced
on a cliff which drops to the sea.
The town of Biga
has lent its name to its entire peninsula. A town of parks, it is a good
place to see houses built in a traditional style. The closest beaches
are at Karabiga and Sahmelek,
where you will find reasonably priced accommodations. Karabiga was known
in ancient times as Priapos, after the god, and thus has cult and fertility
associations. Çan is well known for its ceramics
and sulphur springs, said to be helpful in various disorders of the liver,
intestine and urinary tract. There are two other hot springs at nearby
Külcüler and Kirazli.
Kaz Dagi (Mt. Ida,
1774 meters) is situated at the southern tip of Çanakkale by the beautiful
Kaz Dagi National Park with magnificent landscapes, peaceful green areas
and several hot springs. At the northern entrance, via Bayramiç
and Evciler, to the Kaz Dagi National Park are
the main day-camping facilities. In Bayramiç, 60 km from Çanakkale is
the beautiful 18th century Hadimogullari Mansion
(Ottoman House) with its ethnography museum.