For many Australians and New Zealanders visitors, Gallipoli is the focus of their trip to Turkey.
During World War I, the tiny cove on the Dardanelles was the site of a long and entrenched skirmish between Turkish and Allied troops. Horrendous casualties resulted on both sides, and for the Allies the operation was a failure.
These days Gallipoli is synonymous with the incompetence of Britain’s leaders and the sacrifice of the empire’s Commonwealth soldiers. The leader of the Turkish troops was none other than Ataturk, who went on to lead Turkey into the modern era.
The Gallipoli Peninsula is now a national park, with moving memorials to those who died here almost a century ago. Antipodean visitors come here in their thousands to commemorate ANZAC Day on 25 April.
Gallipoli is 350 km (200 miles) west from Istanbul, along the Sea of Marmara. Coaches leave from Istanbul’s main bus station, but you’ll have more freedom to sightsee if you hire a car or a private tour. The drive from Istanbul to Gallipoli takes around five hours.
Unless you’ve boned up on history, take a tour to get the most out of your visit to Gallipoli.