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Sea, forest and history Gallipoli Peninsular
2002 / FEBRUARY

Descending the western slopes of Mount Korudağ towards the neck of the Gallipoli peninsular, known as Gelibolu in Turkish, bounded by the Gulf of Saros to the north and Çanakkale Strait (the Dardanelles) to the south, the road leads through woods of red pine (Pinus brutia), the most common tree of the Aegean and Mediterranean coastal region. Suddenly you come in sight of the gulf of Saros, one of Turkey's favourite diving destinations, with its diverse and abundant underwater wildlife, including coral reefs and sponges. Red pine forests cover the shores of the gulf, providing welcome cool shade on hot summer days in the countless tiny bays. Lying between the Marmara and the Aegean seas, the Gallipoli peninsular is a climactic transition point and therefore characterised by unusual biological diversity.

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Sea, forest and history Gallipoli Peninsular
2002 / FEBRUARY

The peninsular took its name from the ancient city of Gallipolis, whose exact location is unknown today, and which was originally founded by the Thracians, and later settled by immigrants from Phokai, Lesbos and Miletus. The peninsular was ruled in turn by the Phrygians, Lydians, Persians, Macedonians, Romans and Byzantines, and since 1367 has been part of Turkey. The main town on the peninsular is Gelibolu, which lies at the northeast mouth of Çanakkale Strait, where it enters the Marmara Sea. The town has a considerable harbour, and fishing and agriculture are the main activities of the district. Gelibolu is particularly famous for its tinned sardines, and fresh fish of many kinds are to be found here at all times of the year.

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Sea, forest and history Gallipoli Peninsular
2002 / FEBRUARY
Notable historic buildings in the town include Ulu Mosque, Azaplar Namazgâh (prayer terrace), the türbe (mausoleum) of Ahmet Bican, Kasapoğlu Ali Bey Hamam (bath), and Saruca Pasa Hamam. To the southwest, also on the shore of the strait, is the town of Eceabat, which faces the city of Çanakkale on the other side of the strait. Here car ferries ply back and forth, carrying traffic on the main highway between northwest Turkey and the Aegean region. Çanakkale Strait has always been of key strategic importance, and in Ottoman times several famous castles were built here, one of the finest being Kilitbahir. This castle was constructed by Sultan Mehmed II in 1462, and consists of a quatrefoil keep with extremely thick walls surrounded by an outer rampart.
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Sea, forest and history Gallipoli Peninsular
2002 / FEBRUARY

The northern and central parts of the peninsular have fertile arable land, and in July golden yellow fields of sunflowers stretch as far as the eye can see. The southern part of the peninsular is covered by forests of red pine and maquis scrub, and this area, scene of the tragic Gallipoli Campaign, was declared a national park in 1973. Half a million Turkish, British, French, Australian and New Zealand soldiers lost their lives here, and their graves and war memorials are a reminder of this sad chapter in history. On Kabatepe and Hisarlik hills are war museums established in memory of all those who fought here, and near the latter is a war memorial to the dead of every nationality.

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Sea, forest and history Gallipoli Peninsular
2002 / FEBRUARY
Çanakkale Strait winds for 61 kilometres, varying in width between 80 km at the widest point to just over 1 km at the narrowest point. With its green shores and ever-changing vistas, it is a beautiful sight when passing through by ship. The Aegean coast of the Gallipoli peninsular has many long sandy beaches and rocky coves perfect for swimming, and attracts many visitors during the summer. Here the sea is calm, unlike the strait, which is blown by north winds throughout the summer months. With its lovely unspoilt countryside, beaches and places of historic interest, the Gallipoli Peninsular is one of Turkey's most rewarding holiday destinations.



* Ali Ihsan Gökçen is a photographer and freelance writer
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