Official language: Turkish
Time zone: UTC +3
Currency: Turkish lira (TRY)
On 25 April, Çanakkale residents, as well as foreign visitors, celebrate the Anzac Day, commemorating the landing of the Allies on the Gallipoli Peninsula in 1915. In the week before and after the holiday it’s almost impossible to find a place to stay and eat.
Several ferries depart daily from Çanakkale port to the Asian side of the Dardanelles Strait. It’s definitely worth buying an inexpensive ticket to spend some time aboard drinking traditional Turkish çay and admiring the view.
It is also a good idea to take a boat to the nearby Bozcaada Island. The place attracts travelers with its unique atmosphere, the view of hundreds of ships, colorful architecture, and famous tomato jam.
The city of Çanakkale played a key role in the 20th-century history of Turkey. It was here that during World War I, on 18 March 1915, the Turkish artillery fought off the attack of the Allied fleet. The episode has been memorialized in the huge inscription placed on a hillside, facing the European side of the strait. The words of a Turkish poet, Necmettin Halil Onan translate as: “Stop wayfarer! This ground you come and tread on is where an epoch lies”. To mark the 67th anniversary of the Ottoman naval victory over the enemy, in the demilitarized zone in the southern part of the Çanakkale coast, the Askeri Müze (the Military Museum) has been opened. The remnants of the UB-46 submarine, a replica of the Nusret minelayer (Nusret Mayın Gemisi) and the 15th-century Çimenlik fortress are among the biggest attractions of the place.
The majority of tourists, however, are here because of the ancient heritage of the area. They head to Troya Tarihi Milli Parkı situated on the Biga Peninsula, known by its old name Troad. In Çanakkale Archaeological Museum you’ll find the artifacts from the site while walking down the Kayserili Ahmet Paşa Caddesi (a beautifully renewed waterfront promenade running along the Dardanelles Strait), you can see a wooden Trojan Horse and the miniature model of Troy in its glory days.
When feeling hungry, you can satisfy your appetite by grabbing food from street vendors, e.g., on the promenade. They offer boiled corns, mussels, baker's goods and many others. But if you’re more into a proper meal, look for restaurants at Saat Kulesi Meydani square and near the Clock Tower. Typical regional dishes are prepared with a generous amount of olive oil and usually contain fish, especially sardines, and seafood, such as squids and mussels. You can enjoy them, e.g., at Kavala restaurant on Ahmet Paşa Cd., Sardalye Bar on Kemalpaşa Mahallesi, and Kumsal Et & Balik – the restaurant by the beach. Don’t forget about dessert and ask for a traditional sweet cheese halvah, called Peynir Helvasi.