I visited Çanakkale twice. The first time, I was staying across the strait in Eceabat to visit Gallipoli and I passed through Çanakkale to see the ancient city of Troy and didn’t see much. The second time, while on my way to Bozcaada, I decided to stop for an overnight and spend a few hours exploring.
I started in the heart of the city next to its most recognizable structure, the Saat Kulesi (clock tower), built in 1897. The square surrounding it is full of shops and restaurants.
The streets in Çanakkale aren’t much to look at. There are a few old Ottoman buildings but nothing special.
Cumhuriyet Meydanı, the largest square in town, has a few monuments. The biggest one is dedicated to Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.
The most interesting thing to do in Çanakkale is visit the Deniz Müzesi (Naval Museum). It’s worth a quick detour in the city to visit the museum. It’s located in the Çimenlik Kalesi, also known as Kale-i Sultaniye, a castle built by Fatih Sultan Mehmet in 1462. Admission is 6TL. It’s closed on Mondays and Thursdays.
In the yard of the castle, which is free for all visitors, there are several deactivated mines and the remains of a German submarine.
Once inside the gates of the castle, there are two buildings. The first is Fatih Camii, a mosque built during construction of the castle. It’s closed to the public. The other building is the actual museum and holds several artifacts related to the Gallipoli Campaign.
Ticket holders have access to a guided tour of the Nusrat, a replica minelayer. It was the best part of the museum for me.
Near the Nusrat is a large monument to Atatürk with old photos and drawings of warships and Çanakkale.
The best thing about Çanakkale is the location and scenery on the seaside. I spent a lot of time walking along the shore and admiring the views as the ships passed by.
Across the other side of the Dardanelles it’s possible to see a couple of important landmarks. The first is a large monument cut into the land. It commemorates the 1915 battle at Gallipoli during WWI. The poem inscribed into the land written by Necmettin Halil Onan reads: “Traveller, halt! The soil you heedlessly tread once witnessed the end of an era.”
The other landmark is Kilitbahir Kalesi, an Ottoman castle built by Fatih Sultan Mehmet (Mehmet the Conqueror). It was built around 1463. It’s possible to take a ferry across to see the castle from up close. For a virtual tour of the castle, click here.