Canakkale is not only name of a city but also the province including the battlefields & memorials of Gallipoli, the legendary ancient city Troy, the mystical & fascinating ancient city Assos, the unknown historical island Bozcaada, the impressive nature of Mt. Ida…
Canakkale, a city & region of education, culture & history with past stretching back 5,000 years, has been nourished by the legacy of ancient cultural treasures such as The Illiad by Homer & has come to appreciate the enchanting historical sites within its boundaries & is now an significant tourism centre.
In ancient times Canakkale was known as the “Hellespont” & “Dardanel” & is one of Turkey’s most beautiful provinces, sitting astride both the Marmara & Aegean regions, with 671 kms of coastline & where geography & history meet in a meaningful way. The Gallipoli Historic National Park, where one of the most important events in Turkey’s history & that of the First World War, the Gallipoli Campaign, took place; & two of the most important ancient centres in western Anatolia, Troy & Assos, which are of the indispensable value as historical & tourism sites, are all in the province of Canakkale.
Stretching from the Trojan War to the Gallipoli Campaign the ancient cities & the sacred land have added “peace” as a characteristic of the identity of the province. While the founding father of the Turkish Republic M. Kemal ATATURK addressed “You, the mothers who sent their sons from the far away countries,” by saying that “your sons are now lying in our bosom,” he delivered his message “Peace at home, peace in the world,” to the world from this land.
Canakkale is one of our country’s most important cultural & tourism centres, with the hospitality of the local people, unspoiled nature, unique buildings, ancient cities, historical walls, cemeteries of those who fell in the war, examples of civil architecture, its clean shores & beaches that have been awarded the Blue Flag, enchanting islands, thermal spas, mild climate, rich range of agricultural products, local dishes, a wide range of fresh & very varied fish, handcrafts & artists. Canakkale reveals a different beauty for all seasons, with the geography of the sea passing through it, the fertility of its lands, & the glamour of its history. It is an ancient, natural & modern province.
On both sides of the wharf & on the waterfront…
Like in all seaside cities the criteria what sets the character of Canakkale is the sea & its wharf. Either side of the waterfront from the jetty in Canakkale have been set out to promote walking & entertainment. Stretching both ways from the car ferry wharf there are restaurants, bars, cafes & benches placed so one can look out over the sea or rest. The area around the wharf & the waterfront is busy day & night. Many of the restaurants on the waterfront feature a seafood menu. In season one can always find fresh fish in the restaurants.
The Clock Tower
One street back from the wharf there is a clock tower that is one of the symbols of the city. It was built in 1897 by an Italian, Emili Vitali tradesman & honorary consul of the time. There is a clock on each of the four sides of the tower, which was built from the local Ayvalik stone. The square shaped tower narrows slightly as it rises. The public fountain beneath it was built in 1889 by a wealthy Jewish resident of the town called Halyo..
The two streets either side of the tower lead into the older districts of the city. Most of the old houses on these very narrow streets are either used as shops or cafes. There are small hans in the marketplace. Once upon a time the famed Muriel Bazaar (Aynali Carsi or Mirror Bazaar) was in this region. The Muriel Bazaar, which was made famous in a well known song about Gallipoli Campaign, was built by Ilia Halyo in 1889 during the reign of Sultan Abdülhamit & was a replica of the famed Egyptian Bazaar in Istanbul. According to some accounts it was destroyed by shells from the British battleship Queen Elizabeth, which were fired at the defences around Canakkale. The bazaar remained a ruin for some time after the war & later 14 shops that were not in keeping with the former styles were erected.
Canakkale in 1 day
One can start a tour of Canakkale from the Cimenlik Castle. The tour, which would follow a visit to the old district, would have as its first stop at the Turkish districts of Camii Kebir & Cay & a stop at the Fatih Mosque. Later one can see the Jewish district, the Victory Square, the Nedime Hanim Girls School, the Tifli Mosque, the Muriel Bazaar, the synagogue, the Anatolian Greek (Rum) district, school buildings, the Orta Mektep School, the Cumhuriyet Meydani (Republican Square), the Public Gardens (Halk Bahcesi), the waterfront, the Clock Tower, Yali & Fetvahane Streets & the Yali Mosque.
The old district & the partly protected houses & streets are very pleasant but one can take a break at the Yali Han, located off one of the streets leading from the Clock Tower. In the han, apart from a bookstore & several other shops, there is a coffee shop & if the weather is suitable you can even sit in the garden area which is very pleasant. The han is also the venue for a number of cultural activities in Canakkale
The Dardanos Tumulus
The tumulus is on the Izmir road in an area owned by the local university & the finds from the site are on display at the Canakkale Archaeology Museum. However, there is not much for the amateur visitor to see. The site’s importance lies in its having the traces of the oldest settlement known in Canakkale. The old name for Canakkale, Dardanos, comes from this old city that was founded here but there are no other traces of it barring the tumulus. The Dardanos tumulus is one of the oldest in the world.
Historical places opening hours
Troy Ancient City : Open hours 08:00 – 17:00 (winter) / 08:00 – 19:30 (summer) open every day, Entrance fee.
Assos : Behramkale Koyu Ayvacik Canakkale, Open hours 08:00 – 17:00 (throughout the year), (open every day), Entrance fee.
Alexandria Troas : Dalyan Koyu Ezine Canakkale, Open hours 08:00 – 17:00 (throughout the year), (open every day), Entrance fee.
The Military Museum & the Cimenlik Fortress
The Cimenlik Castle, which now serves as a military museum, was built by Sultan Fatih the Conqueror in 1462 in order to control the Strait. It was known as Bogaz Hisari & Kala-i Sultaniye in the past. In the fortress area one can still see the holes made by British shellfire from the Gallipoli Campaign. The small two-story Fatih Mosque inside the castle was built at the same at the fortress. The other parts of the fortress have been turned into a military museum. In the museum there are displays of Ottoman era arms & military equipment, material & equipment from World War One as well as copies of books & maps prepared by the famed Ottoman sailor & cartographer Piri Reis. An exact scale replica of the mine layer the Nusrat, which played a prominent part in the Gallipoli Campaign, is on display in the open garden of museum. The real Nusrat, which has recently been restored, is on display in a park in Mersin in the south of Turkey.
Troy Ancient City
A warning to travellers who plan to visit Troy. Troy is not a historical site that one can visit & understand on one’s own. It definitely should be visited in the company of an expert guide. In Canakkale & Eceabat many travel agencies organise tours with good guides. We strongly recommend that those who do not come to the region with a tour group should consider joining one of these tours. Troy is the common name for the city at the entrance of the Dardanelles located on the Hisarl覺k Hill, the Bronze Age fortress & the settlement, the legendary city of King Priam that was completely destroyed at the end of the ten year long Trojan War. Troy was also known as Ilios & Ilion. One of the most important aspects of Troy for archaeologists & historians is that it was destroyed, burnt down & rebuilt on the same site. In general, once a city was destroyed another would be built at a different location. In contrast, Troy was rebuilt on the very same location again & again. Thus it presents us with the opportunity to study & learn the 5,000 years long history of humans, culture & architecture in the region. There is a small museum at the entrance of the site, which was opened in 1955. Some finds from the excavation that had been held in the Istanbul Archaeology Museum were transferred to this museum in 1970. There are plans to build a larger museum at the site, with the intention of bringing together most of the finds from generations of excavation, including pieces smuggled out of Turkey & currently held in Russia & the Berlin Archaeology Museum.