This page is about Canakkale and is one of a number of articles I have written regarding the Gallipoli Campaign. I have also written guides to help you research soldiers who served in the British Army during the war:
I offer a First World War Soldier Reseach Service.
The city of Canakkale is an excellent base for visiting the Gallipoli battlefields, sited on the Asian side of the narrowest point of the Dardanelles. The city has frequent coach connections from Istanbul which pass through the town of Eceabat which can also be used as a base. In 1915, Canakkale was a town with a population of 16,000 which was evacuated during the campaign. Now, it is a bustling city with a population of over 100,000 with a number of sites which would be of interest to the Gallipoli visitor. The photograph of Canakkale above was taken from the ferry terminal. During the Gallipoli Campaign, the city was known as Chanak Kale to the Allied forces who occupied it in November 1918. The map below dates from July 1915.
Pros to Staying in Canakkale
- There are a variety of hotels and restaurants to suit all tastes and budgets throughout the city.
- The city has a number of museums and sites which will be of interest to the Gallipoli visitor.
- Canakkale has a tourist information centre to the right as you come off the ferry and a member of staff speaks fluent English.
- The ruins of Troy can be visited, though I found them to be very disappointing.
Cons to Staying in Canakkale
- The return ferry trip will add at least an hour onto your daily journey time and even more if you miss one.
What to See in Canakkale
There are two sites which will be of interest to those visiting Gallipoli for the battlefields. The first is the Military/Naval Museum which is located on the shorefront a short walk away from the ferry. As you come out of the ferry terminal, turn right and keep on walking and you’ll soon see the museum in front of you. The museum consists of a variety of military equipment in a garden including mines, artillery pieces and torpedoes. The museum contains the wreck of the German submarine UB-46 which was lost in the Black Sea in December 1916. The wreck was rediscovered in 1993 and moved to the museum in 2007. You can read more about the submarine here: UB-46.Also in the museum are two large anchors located near the entrance to the fort. These held a steel anti-submarine net which stretched across the Dardanelles during the war. The entrance to Cimenlik Fort is to the right of the photograph below. Unfortunately, the fort has been closed on both my visits. It contains an embedded shell from the HMS Queen Mary fired in March 1915. The museum also includes a replica of the minelayer Nusret which can be toured, though when I was there in October 2016 the Nusret was absent. The Nusret laid a series of mines parallel to the shore in March 1915 and it was possibly one of these mines which sank the French battleship Bouvet.The second place of interest is the Chanak Consular Cemetery, located approximately a mile from the ferry terminus. I have written a separate article about the cemetery here: Chanak Consular Cemetery. This cemetery is always kept locked and you will need to phone the office to get the key, the telephone number can be found here: Chanak Consular Cemetery. I asked a staff member at the tourist information office to phone on my behalf but sadly nobody picked up. Hopefully, you’ll have more luck. The cemetery contains a number of interesting graves including that of Lieutenant-Commander Brodie of the British submarine E15. The E15 ran aground near Fort Dardanos when trying to reach the Sea of Marmara on 17 April 1915. Brodie was killed by shrapnel when Fort Dardanos opened fire on the submarine and a further six crew members died due to a chlorine leak caused by the shelling. The rest of the crew were taken prisoner.
From Canakkale you can: