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    In 1915, Winston Churchill, then 1st Lord of the Admiralty, promoted an invasion of 'Byzantium' by way of the Dardanelles, with a joint amphibious and naval force running up the Bosphorus to capture Istanbul . His aim was to cut German supply lines to the Middle East, while knocking Turkey out of the war. Nothing went as planned, bad luck, inept and even cowardly commanders had already doomed the ANZAC forces when Kemal Ataturk led the counterattack that strapped the Allies on their tiny beachhead spread along the narrow peninsula.

    The straits were mined by the Turks to prevent Allied ships from penetrating them but after one ship was sunk, the Allied navy stalled and strategic momentum was lost. In early 1916, after 10 months fighting and more than 200,000 casualties, the Allies withdrew.

    The site is well preserved, and evocative of the futility of war. Overnight in Canakkale. The town has been attacked, defended and overrun for thousands of years, but today is a pleasant seaside city with a large University and mostly Turkish vacationers. In the evenings, the passagiata slowly makes its way along the broad curving quay, with many restaurants and tea houses, usually with a cooling sea breeze.


  • Places to visit in Gallipoli

    ANZAC Cove Tour: ANZAC Cove is one of the small inlets on the north side of the peninsula. It became well known during and after the World War I because ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps)   landed here on April 25th 1915. ANZAC cove is nearly 600m long. From the first day of the war North Beach was the port of ANZACs. ANZAC Cove beach became the main supply for the Australian and New Zealand troops for the eight months of the battle.

    Lone Pine Tour: Lone Pine was a strategically important plateau to the south of ANZAC Cove. It was attacked by the Australians during the First World War between 6th and 10th of August in 1915 against the Sari Bair peaks of Chunuk Bair and Hill 971. The Lone Pine battlefield, named for a solitary Turkish Pine that stood there at the beginning of the war, was situated about the center of the eastern line of the ANZAC trenches.

    Chunuk Bair Tour: Chunuk bair was one of the most important points of the Sari bair range in the battlefield. The Battlefield of Chunuk Bair was a battle area between the Turkish defenders and troops of New Zealand and Britain on Turkey's Peninsula in August 1915. The attackers captured the Chunuk Bair, "Canak Bayiri" (Basin Slope) in Turkish (now "Conk Bayiri") between 6-10 August. This was the main objective of the ANZACs offensive of early August 1915 when they tried to break out of the stalemate with the Turks in the ANZAC sector but their attempt was met by the staunch defense of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk (Turkish commander) and the bid was unsuccessful.

    From our tour: Beautiful day, clear blue skies, great views of the Dardanelles and the tanker traffic as we take the ferry across to the Gallipoli peninsula. The main threat now is from forest fire, which has destroyed much of the wooded area, with unsupervised recovery leaving many places with an impenetrable, but lower brush and brambles. So today, the views are broader than would have been the case during the battles in 1915. In ancient stories. While waiting in the van for the 'feribot' , we were approached by a succesion of merchants. Each makes a brief presentation at the open door, then steps aside to let the next guy have a try. Silk carpets for just $15! T-shirts for $3, silver jewelry! Resisting these bargains we drove onto the ferry when it opening it's gate, and the merchants followed us aboard to continue the negotiations.

    [as we overheard a local guide], Dardanos was the result of Zeus being 'naughty with a lady'. He married a local king's daughter, giving his name to the area and the straits. At the Gallipoli museum, busloads of kids on holiday pour onto the grounds. We met a group from Samsun, exchanged picture taking, then met them several times later as we toured, each time to renewed handshakes and smiles and a disruption of the teacher's plans. Hiked down from Conkbayit, the main Turkish lines to Lone Pine, where the Aussie assault made it as far as this ridge on the first day, but never any farther. We hiked about 5 km, sometimes in rebuilt trenches, mostly on the road, then down to Anzac Cove, another 2 km, for a picnic lunch we'd bought at a supermarket earlier - 3 kinds of cheese, various breads, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, antep ezme (thick, spicy chili paste) and a coos coos - bulgur - mint meze, along with ayran (a yogurt drink). Drove down to the Cove. (3 pm)

    Back to Canakkale, with a brief stop at the German-made cannons dominating the straits. Once able to prevent Allied shipping from traversing to the Black Sea, now they can't hold off swarms of kids using them as a playground. 

    You can do Gallipoli and Troy as a long day trip from Istanbul, but it's much more rewarding to take several days, which then lets you expand to Pergamum. There are good hotels in Cannakale with convenient ferry connections. A guide is highly recommended.

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