Asia Minor Travel & Tours - Your Guide to Turkey


Canakkale, in northwestern Turkey, has been the crossing point from Asia to Europe over the Dardanelles for centuries. King Xerxes of Persia crossed in 481 B.C., and Alexander the Great a century and a half later. In the Ottoman days it was used by the Ottoman armies to march into Europe. The strait has also been of great strategic and economic importance as the gateway to Istanbul and the Black Sea from the Mediterranean.

Hellespont (the ancient name for Dardanelle) was also the location of several mythological stories. Possibly the most famous one is the love story between Hero and Leander.

In the 19th century, the area witnessed one of the bloodiest wars in World War I. Visitors often come to Canakkale to visit the nearby the battlefields of Gallipoli (Gelibolu), which can be reached by ferry. There are many war memorials, erected to honor the soldiers who died there. Once such memorial bears a message from Ataturk:

There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us,
Where they lie side by side here in this country of ours,
You, the mothers who sent their sons from faraway countries, wipe away your tears;
Your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace after having lost their lives on this land,
They have become our sons as well.

Another popular site near Canakkale is the ancient Troy. Excavations have identified a sequence of nine principal stratas representing nine periods, in which houses were built, occupied and ultimately destroyed. Troy VIIa, which was destroyed by fire sometime about the 13th century BC, is probably the city of King Priam described in Homer?s Iliad. Homer immortalized Troy in the stories of King Priam, Hector, Paris and the beautiful Helen. A symbolic wooden Trojan horse commemorates the legendary war.

The Canakkale Archaeology Museum exhibits finds from Troy and also artifacts dating as early as the Bronze Age.

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Last modified: 
February 25, 2014