- What’s On
The town (almost a city) is on the Asian shore of the Dardanelles (ancient Hellespont), the narrow channel that separates it from the Gallipoli Peninsula in Europe. This is not far from where Leander swam each night to see his lover Hero – and Byron made a one-way trip, which he admitted was less than epic. Just 1.2km wide, it has been an important place in history. Looking across 'The Narrows' towards Gallipoli, it is easy to imagine the bridge of boats built by Xerxes to march his Persian army against the Greeks. The sturdy fortresses, too, one on each shore, built by Mehmet II, the Conqueror, are thick with memories of soldiers, traders, agents, pilgrims passing to and fro.
The working port town has regular ferries taking visitors to the Gallipoli Peninsula, and the comings and goings make the pleasant waterfront a good place to stop in a café and watch the world go by. Çanakkale means "pottery castle" and the town is today best known for vitreous enamel ware. The archaeology museum has items from Troy and Assos.
If you are travelling without a car, Çanakkale is a good base for visiting Troy. Half-day trips can be arranged through your hotel, though you may want to cut loose from your party when you get there.
Getting There: From Istanbul, take a two-hour ferry from Yenikapı to Bandırma, then bus to Çanakkale The airport, 3km from the city, has flights from Istanbul and Ankara.