When one mentions Gallipoli a moment's pause can often follow. This tends to happen for place names that conjure up many emotional responses all at once. Writing up such a place is a daunting task, so we apologise in advance as we can not possibly do justice to the meaning, but will simply aim to give some overview; albeit a brief account of one of Turkey's most beautiful & heartbreaking destinations.
First the beautiful parts: located a near distance just across the water from Istanbul, the Gallipoli peninsula is on the edge of Europe. The origins of its name come from Greek roots (Καλλίπολις - Kallipolis) and we're reliably informed (IT) translates to 'Beautiful City'. With rich coastal views, great walking tracks and now developed infrastructure catering to visitors one is free to go via the tour approach or chance it on their own by car and by foot.
And now the heartbreaking & tragic story of the Gallipoli campaign (Dardanelles campaign). There is only one reason you're likely to find yourself in Gallopoli and that is because of its war fame. During 'The Great War' of WWI, in 1915 Allied forces made up of English, Indian, French, Australian & New Zealand soldiers landed at the edges of the Gallipoli Peninsula. The objective of the Allies campaign was to seize control of the strategically important Dandanelles Strait along with Istanbul (Constantinople) and take Turkey out of the war. Whilst Turkish soldiers were defending an enemy invasion on their own shores during the final collapse of the Ottoman empire. The result was a horrific battle, prolonged stalemate and eventual retreat by the Allied forces.
The Australian and New Zealand soldiers known officially as ANZACs and affectionally as 'Diggers' - faced an unimaginably bloody and impossible up-hill battle, with little way to gain ground and orders for no retreat. Brave soldiers were left with little choice but to dig out trenches in the jagged hilly coastal land - hence the term 'Diggers'. The cost of life was immense on both sides. Turkish soldiers were able to stay off the invasion and Allied soldiers are immortalised for heroism against fierce adversity.
As we publish this review, over 10,000 people are presently in Gallipoli for the 100 year commemoration of the fateful landing day. Where there is tragedy, humanity can build and transform - a visit to Gallipoli can definitely give one a glimpse, and perhaps renewed appreciation of this. Furthermore and as a final note, this battle formed an integral catalyst for Turkey, New Zealand and Australia, each of whom gained for itself a new sense of identity and national consciousness as a result of this experience; the legacy of which remains present today. [Review by nikodonnell]
- Gallipoli is a region in Turkey. It is situated at an altitude of 135ft and the best airport to fly into is BDS (Papola Casale, Brindisi)
- The main spoken language here is Turkish, and the average English skill is intermediate
- The currency used in Turkey is the Turkish lira (TRY)
Historical average maximum temperature per month (℉):
Historical average rainfall per month (inches):
More Gallipoli travel resources
Read up on all the historical accounts, although you will also be exposed to much information on the journey which is more astonishing when physically there.
here (also Wikipedia)
and here (not Wikipedia)
Overview as a travel destination
Take a look at this first person account it is an insightful and helpful read.