The Gallipoli peninsula is one of the most sacred sites of the Turkish nation! It is located in Turkish Thrace, with the Aegean Sea to the West and the Dardanelles strait to the East. Gallipoli derives its name from the Greek “Καλλίπολις” (Kallipolis),  which means “Beautiful City”. In the ancient years, it was the location of several prominent towns, such as Cardia, Pactya, Alopeconnesus, Sestos, Madytos, and Elaeus. Gallipoli was benefited from its strategic importance on the main route between Europe and Asia, as well as from its control of the shipping route from Crimea


In 560 BC, the Athenian statesman Miltiades the Elder, founded a major Colony in the area of Gallipoli. He took authority of the penisnula building up its defence which eventually passed to his nephew  Miltiades the younger,  around 524 BC. During the 4th century, the Thracian Chersonese became the focus of territorial dispute between Athens and Macedon. Eventually it was ceded to Philip, the King of Macedon. In 323, after the death of Alexander the Great (son of King Philip), the Chersonese became the object of contention among Alexander’s successors. At the end, Lysimachus established there his capital.

In March 1354, a strong earthquake destroyed  Gallipoli and its city walls, weaking its defences. This resulted, the peninsula to fall to the Ottoman Empire, making it the staging area for their expansion across the Balkans. In the 19th century, Gallipoli hosted about thirty thousand inhabitants such as Greeks, Turks, Armenians and Jews.

In World War I (1915), British forces attempting to seize a strategic advantage, authorised an attack on the Gallipoli peninsula. The first troop landed on 25 April and after eight months they were withdrawn. The 1915 landings and battles are commemorated by Australians and New Zealanders on ANZAC Day, on the 25th of April every year. It is a commemoration of military casualties and veterans in Australia and New Zealand.

The Gallipoli Campaign, Campaign also known as the Battle of the Dardanelles resulted thousand of casualties for both sides! Its geographical location at the entrance of the Dardanelles and the supply route to Russia via the Sea of Marmara, Bosphorus and the Black Sea…. was the reason that Gallipoli Campaign was planned there in the first place! This campaign formed the basis for the Turkish war of Independence and the founding of the Republic of Turkey under Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who first rose to prominence as a commander at Gallipoli. In Turkey, it is regarded as a defining moment in the nation’s history! The victory over the Allies is celebrated on 18 March as Çanakkale Zaferi (Çanakkale Victory), with tens of thousands of Turks attending the events on the battlefields and memorials, every year.

In March 1954, British and French engineers constructed a line of defence, not only  to protect the peninsula from a possible Russian attack but moreover to control the route to the Mediterranean Sea. During the Crimean War in 1854, Gallipoli became a major encampment of British and French forces, while the harbour was also a stopping-off point on the way to Istanbul. Gallipoli eventually became a commemorative site for the British, French and Turkish forces who fought and died there! There are three main battlefield areas: Cape Helles (Turkish: Seddülbahir), Anzac-Lone Pine and Suvla Bay. Today, the Gallipoli battlefields are protected landscapes covered in beautiful pine forests and fringed by idyllic beaches and coves.

The Cannakale Martyrs Memorial (near Cape Helles), The British Memorial at Cape Helles, Anzac Cove,  Lone Pine Australian Memorial, New Zealand Monument, Chunuk Bair, Ataturk Statue and  Chunuk Bair are the most famous sights in the area. The Gelibolu Milli Park, the ancient fortress of Kilitbahir and the ruins of the legendary city of Troy, are also some of the places visitors should also visit during their stay in Gallipoli!

You can reach Gallipoli easily, either by car or by plane. The distance from Istanbul is 350km, so you can be there approximately in about 4,30 hours. There is also one flight every day (duration 50 minutes ) from Istanbul to Cannakale airport. After landing you can take the ferry to Eceabat and then drive to Gallipoli (duration 1 hour)


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