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Turkey Part 1
Gallipoli National Park and local areas
19 - 23 Sept 09

We spent two evenings in the Gallipoli National Park and local areas.

Eceabat is the closest town to the Gallipoli Battlefields.  With a population of approximately 4,500 people, and originally a small fishing village known as Maydos on the shores of the famous Dardanelles, Eceabat was shelled heavily during the Gallipoli campaign of 1915.

It is a simple town and our 'otel', the 'Boss' is cheap and located on the town square, just metres from the Dardanelle. We frequent a coffee shop here each  morning.

We pass through the fortress at Kilitbahir each day heading to the battleground.  Built in 1463 by Sultan Mehmet II, two fortresses were built to guard the Dardanelles: Kale Sultanieh on the Asian coast and Kilitbahir on the European one.

Kilitbahir is an extraordinary fortress characterized by a unique design: the sultan's architect worked with his compasses to draw elaborate curved lines which perhaps explain the name given to the fortress: Kilitbahir (Key of the Sea). A seven storey tower/castle served both to accommodate the garrison and to have a high observation point to identify enemy ships early. It has a triangular shape, but the sides are the result of two convex lines.

On the tip of the peninsula, in the old fort of Seddülbahir (Barrier of the Sea) the Turks had only a small number of men and four old machine guns and for most of the first day of the invasion, 25 April 1915, isolated pockets of Turks managed to pin the British down and it was only under cover of darkness that the remaining men on the invasion force could be landed. On the morning of 26 April 1915, a charge was led up from the beach and through Seddülbahir village by Colonel Charles Doughty-Wylie. Force of numbers now pushed the Turks back. Doughty-Wylie was killed and his grave, the only single Allied grave outside a cemetery on Gallipoli, stands today just above Seddülbahir.

To the north, Anzac Cove is a small cove noted for the landing of the ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) on April 25 1915. The cove is a mere 600m long, bounded by the headlands of Ari Burnu to the north and Little Ari Burnu, known as Hell Spit, to the south. Following the landing, the beach became the main base for the ANZAC forces for the eight months of the Battle of Gallipoli.

ANZAC Cove was always within a kilometer of the front-line, well within the range of Turkish artillery. General William Birdwood, commander of ANZAC, made his headquarters in a gully overlooking the cove.

The beach itself became an enormous supply dump and two field hospitals were established, one at either end. Four floating jetties were quickly constructed for the landing of stores, later replaced in July by a permanent structure known as "Watson's Pier". The volume of stores quickly overflowed onto the adjacent beaches; firstly onto "Brighton Beach" to the south of the cove and later onto North Beach beyond Ari Burnu.

Despite the shelling, ANZAC Cove was a popular swimming beach for the soldiers — at ANZAC it was a struggle to supply sufficient water for drinking so there was rarely any available for washing. When swimming, most soldiers disregarded all but the fiercest shelling rather than interrupt the one luxury available to them. Concealed Turkish snipers also targeted swimming soldiers.

Over the years, ANZAC Cove beach has been degraded by erosion, and the construction of the coast road from Gaba Tepe to Suvla, originally started by Australian engineers just prior to the evacuation of ANZAC in December 1915, resulted in the beach being further reduced and bounded by a steep earth embankment.

 click on a picture to see a larger image. hit arrows at either end of the slideshow for more pictures.


Eceabat with our hotel on the right

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