We are in Canakkale, where Atatürk, the great leader of Turks said, “I do not order you to attack; I order you to die!”
Canakkale has such a rich history that it amazes people just to hear about it. This geography has witnessed the Trojan War, the Ottoman Empire, and the birth of the modern Turkish Republic. It has been the main character of countless stories that are still being told today.
The Ottoman period in Canakkale began with Gallipoli. The first Ottoman shipyard was established in Gallipoli, and its name was Suleyman Pasha, the son of Orhan Gazi. Even a well-known character passed through here: Piri Reis. One of the world’s most influential historians and cartographers, Piri Reis, drew the famous world map in the Gallipoli district of Canakkale.
🛎️ Reminder: To explore Canakkale step by step with your digital tour guide, don’t forget to download Piri Guide! 😊
Where Does the Name ‘Canakkale’ Come From?
Canakkale, a settlement area since the 3rd millennium BC, had the name “Dardanellia”. Its current name, Canakkale, comes from the Canak Castle on the Anatolian side. Also, you may encounter some British reports that used to call this place “Chanak” and “Kale Sultanie”.
Where is Canakkale?
Canakkale is a province in the Marmara region of Turkey with a very important history. It is also situated to the west of Balikesir and to the east of Tekirdag. The city is located on the Canakkale Strait, which separates the European continent from the Asian continent.
How to Go to Canakkale?
The nearest airport to Canakkale is the Canakkale Airport, which has direct flights from Istanbul and Ankara. You can take a taxi or a shuttle service from the airport to the city centre. Ferry services also operate between Istanbul and Canakkale across the Marmara Sea. The ferry journey takes about 8 hours. Another option is the railway since the Turkish State Railways operate a train service between Istanbul and Canakkale, which takes around 12 hours.
When to Go to Canakkale?
Exploring the streets, monuments, and important sites of Canakkale all year round is possible. However, it should be noted that it can get very windy in Canakkale, and the winters can be cold with a lot of rain, while the summers can be hot. If you want to avoid dealing with the heat or the shower, then May and April might be the best time to visit. Remember to bring your sunscreen, though! 😊
If you are determined to visit in the winter, make sure to bring warm clothing and gloves, as the wind from the strait can be particularly strong during the colder months 🍃
Çanakkale’de Nerede Kalınır?
Before we begin with our recommendations, let us say that there are various accommodation options available in Canakkale. There is a wide range of choices, from luxury hotels to Airbnb, boutique hotels to campsites.
Deciding on the type of accommodation that best suits you can make your decision easier. Or perhaps the area where you will stay is a determining factor. For example, boutique hotels might be a great option if you are staying in Assos. If you don’t want to stray too far from the city centre, we can recommend five areas for easy accommodation: Barbaros, Kepez, Eceabat, and Gallipoli.
Places to Visit in Canakkale
We’ve made a list of must-visit places in Canakkale. Yet, we should remind you that you can find more on Piri Guide mobile app. Piri Guide detects your location, offers you the best travel routes, and starts telling you the hidden stories of wherever you are. All you have to do is to get your headphones or earbuds and follow the path at your own pace. Then, don’t set out for your trip before downloading the digital travel guide!
The Mirrored Bazaar
The Mirrored Bazaar (Aynali Carşi) of Canakkale was built by a Jewish man from Canakkale named Eli Halio. It was designed to serve as an inn with approximately 30 shops. The original name of the Mirrored Bazaar was the Halio Çarşı (Halio Bazaar), but it was later changed.
So, why did people start calling it the Mirrored Bazaar in the first place? In the past, the bazaar used to sell items and decorations for horses, including “ayna,” which are horse goggles. That is why the bazaar took on the name that we are familiar with today, “Aynali”, which means “mirrored” in English.
During the years when Canakkale was occupied by the British, this bazaar was also used as a stable for horses. Therefore, the building suffered significant damage. It was restored nearly 10 years ago to its current state.
Statue of Corporal Seyit
On March 18, 1915, during the Gallipoli Campaign, there were two essential names that would make their mark on history: the Nusret Mine Ship and Corporal Seyit.
According to Corporal Seyit’s own account, he regained consciousness after a major bombardment at the Mecidiye battery. He looked out and saw the ships entering the strait. His eyes widened as he saw the damaged artillery batteries, and he ran to one of the few remaining intact batteries. He began reciting the prayer his mother had taught him, and then, after repeating the prayer several times, he turned the 271-kilogram shell towards the enemy.
Ali of Nigde was astonished and said, “You can’t do it!” But Corporal Seyit, with the help of his prayers, began to climb the ladder of shells on his back and fired the shell. It was missed at first, but he did not give up. He loaded another shell and fired again, but it fell short. He did not give up and loaded a third shell, aiming it directly at the mouth of the gun and finally hitting the Ocean armoured cruiser. The Statue of Corporal Seyit in Canakkale depicts how Corporal Seyit carried out this feat.
Canakkale Martyrs’ Memorial
Until 1958, entry to this peninsula where the Gallipoli wars took place was prohibited. In 1958, that ban was lifted, and donations began to be collected for constructing the Gallipoli Martyrs’ Memorial throughout the country. Taxi drivers, grocers, butchers, civil servants, and farmers… Everyone participated in the donation campaign with great dedication, and the monument was built with 4 million TL collected. Construction started in 1960 and was completed in the same year.
The Gallipoli Martyrs’ Monument is 41 m 70 cm. The 40-meter section represents the soldiers. Eight reliefs have been carved on the sides facing the sea and the land. The parts facing the land tell the story of the land war, while the parts facing the sea tell the story of the sea war. Another point to note is the inscribed glass around the monument. There are glass plates on the so-called tombstones of these symbolic graves. Each of the plates has the names of 18 soldiers.
Bigali is a charming small village, but don’t be fooled by its size; it has a large square. You will immediately notice the village mosque when you stand in the square. This is not a new mosque; in fact, we can’t say it is “relatively new” because its construction was in 1431. The history of the village goes back to the 14th century. However, its original name was not Bigalı; it was Bogali. The name comes from its founder Ali Bogabey, but over time, it became Bogali and then Bigali. You can even find this name in Evliya Celebi’s Book of Travels.
As you walk through the village streets, you will see the house Mustafa Kemal used as his headquarters on February 25, 1915. Atatürk often came to this house when he was appointed as the division’s commander and discussed the war’s progress with Esat Pasha, the German general, and Nuri Pasha.
You will reach Assos Ancient City from Canakkale after about a 1.5-hour journey. The ancient city consists of the Acropolis, Necropolis Odeon, and city walls. The other part was Behramkale, which Murat Hudavendigar once built.
Assos means “first” in Greek. However, Murat Hudavendigar, who conquered the city centuries later, gave it the name Behram. Behram in Persian means the second day of the month. In fact, the word “bayram” (holiday) that we use today comes from the word “behram”.
So many more places in Canakkale are waiting for you to see, such as Conkbayırı and Kilitbahir, before leaving Canakkale. To explore these spots, you can take Piri Guide with you!
Also, if you want to see how Ephesus and its ancient lands played a crucial role in history, read our Ephesus Ancient City tour guide!