Canakkale – a pleasant surprise at the doorstep of Asia

Once we arrived in Turkey from Bulgaria, we left behind Edirne city and went to Eceabat to take the ferry to Canakkale and from a scenic route we arrived at our first stop in Turkey. You can enjoy the beautiful scenery of a winding road off the coast of the Marmara Sea on the last part of the road to the European side of Dardanelles. Gallipoli Campaign was held in 1915, with cemeteries and memorials of over 120 000 soldiers who had fallen from Turkey, the UK, France, Australia and New Zealand, nearest town to Eceabat.

Gallipoli Campaign was held in 1915, with cemeteries and memorials of over 120 000 soldiers who had fallen from Turkey, the UK, France, Australia and New Zealand, nearest town to Eceabat.
Gallipoli Campaign was held in 1915, with cemeteries and memorials of over 120 000 soldiers who had fallen from Turkey, the UK, France, Australia and New Zealand, nearest town to Eceabat.

Because we had to wait for a long time before the next ferry, we followed the advice of a ferry operator and set off for Kilitbahir. We were on the ferry in ten minutes and in Canakkale in another ten.

We arrived at the hotel (Hotel Temizay, which offers excellent conditions at a reasonable price and is conveniently located near the port), parked the car, and soon began exploring the city. We took a stroll down the beachfront, saw the famous wooden Trojan horse model used in the 2004 Wolfgang Petersen movie Troy, marveled at the iconic clock tower, and took a deep breath and relaxing on a bench in a gorgeous park. We would have liked to visit the naval museum in Canakkale, but it was closed when we arrived.

The next day, we went on a tour of the area. The first stop, as expected, was to the ruins of Troy’s ancient city. Troy, with its 4,000-year history, is one of the world’s most famous archaeological sites. Heinrich Schliemann, a well-known archaeologist, conducted the first excavations at the site in 1870. In scientific terms, its extensive remains are the most significant demonstration of the first contact between Anatolian and Mediterranean civilizations. Furthermore, the siege of Troy by Spartan and Achaean warriors from Greece in the 13th or 12th century B.C., immortalized by Homer in the Iliad, has long inspired great creative artists all over the world.

ancient troy
ancient troy

Ancient Troy held a strategic position at the southern entrance to the Dardanelles (Hellespont), a narrow strait that connected the Black Sea to the Aegean Sea via the Sea of Marmara. The city also controlled a land route that ran north along the west Anatolian coast and crossed the Dardanelles at its narrowest point to reach the European shore. In theory, Troy could have used its location astride these two lines of communication to exact tolls from trading vessels and other travelers using them; however, the extent to which this occurred is unknown.

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Following this fascinating history lesson, we continued our journey to the next destination on our itinerary: Bozcaada Island. We had to take the ferry again to get here.  There are over 3,000 idyllic islands in the Aegean Sea, making it difficult to distinguish between them. However, Bozcaada is unique in that it is one of only two Turkish islands. Tenedos was the name given to it in Greek mythology, and due to its strategic location (just south of the Dardanelles Strait), it has been at the center of disputes since time immemorial.

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The windswept island of Bozcaada is largely unknown to foreigners, attracting mostly well-heeled Turkish visitors. The Aegean Sea island is small and easy to explore on foot, with numerous hidden beaches, lavender fields, cobbled alleyways, olive plantations, and whitewashed houses. The island has remained untouched by mass tourism, allowing visitors to experience the less-traveled side of the Aegean. The island’s coastline is dominated by a large medieval fortress, while the hilly interior is home to a number of small vineyards and quiet family-run inns.

The water is exceptionally clear, with no algae, making it ideal for diving. There are plenty of pure sandy beaches – the longest and most accessible is in Ayazma Bay, which is also the busiest, but there are still eleven large bays, as well as countless coves and entrances for those seeking solitude. The city’s wooden and stone houses are a charming blend of Turkish and Greek architecture – stylistically very different. Another distinguishing feature of this Aegean island is the food, which is a fusion of the two cultures. A local specialty, red poppy syrup, can be used as an alternative to the island’s wine.

Bozcaada Castle, Bozcaada Museum, art galleries, Bozcaada Polente Lighthouse to watch the sunset, Wind Roses and Göztepe, Bozcaada Ayazma Monastery, and Bozcaada Church of the Virgin Mary are among the places to see in Bozcaada, in addition to the old Greek neighborhoods surrounded by narrow streets full of houses with bay windows. When visiting Bozcaada, don’t forget to buy tomato, fig, and poppy jams, as well as Tenedos cookies, from the small shops that line the island’s streets. Also, keep in mind that the last ferry to the mainland departs at 19.00.

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