Before setting off to explore the Gallipoli region on Anzac Day or at any other time of the year, arm yourself with a check-list of all the poignant memorials and historical landmarks you wish to see. Below we've list the best places to visit in Gallipoli, and further beneath added some of the the most exciting location to visit on any holiday to Turkey.
Anzac Cove is perhaps the most famous spot on the Gallipoli Peninsular. This small cove which is 600m long, is where the men of the ANZAC corps first came ashore on 25 April 1915 and were sent immediately into battle along the Second Ridge. ANZAC Cove was only a kilometre of the frontline on the mountainous western side of the peninsula and within easy range of Turkish artillery, who inflicted massive casualties. By 1st May 1915, more than 27,000 ANZAC's had landed at Gallipoli and ANZAC Cove became the main base for the Australian and New Zealand troops for the eight months of the Battle of Gallipoli. The Dawn Service was traditionally held within the cove until 1999 when a larger capacity purpose built "Anzac Commemorative Site" was constructed nearby on North Beach which is within easy walking distance.
Lone Pine was the site of one of the most famous battles of the Gallipoli campaign. From 6th - 9th August 1915, the maze of log covered trenches at Lone Pine became the scene of bloody, hand to hand combat, as the Australians attempted to take control of the Turkish line and divert the Turks attention from Chunuk Bair, which was the objective of the August offensive. The battle of Lone Pine was a rare success for the ANZACs, although it was at a very high price; 2200 Australians and 6000 Turks were killed of wounded. The site gained its name after the Turks cut down all but one of the Aleppo pines, which the ANZACs called the lonesome pine. Today the Lone Pine cemetery covers part of the battlefield and one tree raised from the seed of a Gallipoli cone, stands at the site. Lone Pine is the largest Commonwealth War Grave Commission Cemetery on the Gallipoli peninsular and it is the site of the Australian memorial service on ANZAC day.
Shrapnel Valley (aka Shrapnel Gully) which leads to Monash Valley, was vital to the ANZAC campaign. Although always under heavy Turkish fire (hence the name), Shrapnel Valley was the main route for Allied troops with essential supplies, to reach the front line along the Second Ridge. Many ANZACs lost their lives here, including Private John Simpson Kirkpatrick who was shot on 19 May 1915. Simpson famously evacuated wounded men from the slopes of the valley using donkeys and he is buried at Beach Cemetery. Today Shrapnel Valley is the second largest cemetery on the peninsular. It is also one of the most beautiful memorial sites, with a distinctive Judas tree in the centre.
Chunuk Bair is the second highest peak of the Sari Bair range, and the capture of this peak was one of the main objectives of the Allied August offensive. The New Zealanders managed to successfully take control of Chunuk Bair on 8th August but they were unable to hold the position whilst waiting for reinforcements, and the Turks regained control on the 10th. The loss of Chunuk Bair marked the end of the effort to reach the central hills of the Peninsula. The Chunuk Bair Cemetary was created after the armistice on the site and now 632 Commonwealth servicemen of the First World War are buried here. In the cemetary a New Zealand National Memorial stands alongside the Ataturk Memorial. On ANZAC Day this site is where the New Zealand memorial service is held.
North Beach lies adjacent to ANZAC Cove, past the headland of Ari Burnu. A distinctive rocky outcrop nicknamed the "Sphinx' by the ANZACs, overlooks North Beach, which now plays host to the ANZAC Day Commemorative Service each year. On 25th April 1915, one of the first waves of the 11th Battalion from Western Australia landed on North Beach and desperately struggled upwards to reach the plateau, under Turkish fire. Reaching the top, a day long struggle ensued as they fired upon the Turks in an effort to move inland and gain ground, whilst the Turks were withdrawing towards the ridge line. One of the men to come ashore at North Beach was Private John Simpson Kirkpatrick of the 3rd Field Ambulance, known as the 'man with the donkey'. The 3rd Field Ambulance men set up an aid post at North Beach during the morning of 25th April, to search cliffs around the sphinx to find and care for the wounded.
The only city to span two continents sits on the Bosphorus - the strait of water that divides the continents of Europe and Asia. It’s illustrious past leaves a rich legacy of churches, mosques, palaces and museums, complemented by the behemoth Grand Bazaar and colourful street life. Sultanahmet, the compact old city of Istanbul, is full of parks, gardens and stunning sights. The Blue Mosque is famed for it’s blue Iznik tiles and unique 6 minarets. The Hagia Sofia, constructed in the 6th century, reigned as the grandest and biggest church in Christendom until the conquest of Constantinople in 1453, when it became a mosque. Just around the corner is Topkapi Palace.
The Gallipoli Peninsular is a picturesque stretch of coastline, located on the European side of Turkey, with the Aegean Sea to the west and the Dardenelles straits to the east. Here you can pay homage to those that valiantly gave up their lives in the doomed mission at Gallipoli, in the First World War. As well as being a historical national park, Gallipoli also has stunning natural appeal with a wide range of flora and fauna from wildflowers to sunflowers and an array of birdlife, a fact the Greeks' recognised, as the name Gallipoli means 'beautiful city' in Greek. You can also enjoy pristine beaches that even in summer remain uncrowded, and once you've finished here you are just a short while away from the legendary site of Troy.
Positively the best-preserved classical city in the eastern Mediterranean. Under the Romans, Ephesus was a vast city with a population nearing 250,000. It revelled in its prosperity from commerce and visiting pilgrims who came to see its great Temple of Artemis - one of the Seven Ancient Wonders. Carefully restored, top sights within the huge archaeological area include the Great Theatre once capable of seating 25,000 spectators at one time, Curetes Way (one of the main thoroughfares), the Temple of Serapis, the elegant façades of the Temple of Hadrian and the awesome Library of Celsus. Off Curetes Way are ancient public toilets, a brothel, remains of fountains and various temples. Look out for some of the ancient Roman graffiti and inscriptions on Curetes Way!
Known locally as the Cotton Castles, Pamukkale is a natural phenomena and gift of Mother Nature. Pamukkale was formed when warm, calcium rich mineral water cascaded over the cliff edge, cooling and depositing in the process. The calcium built natural shelves and pools on the cliffs, known as travertines. At the very top of the travertine pools is Pamukkale Thermal, where a pleasant dip can be enjoyed in the warm waters amongst submerged fragments of fluted marble columns. It is thought the natural pool once formed the centre of the ruined Roman spa town of Hierapolis, which was a cure centre founded around 190 BC by the Romans. You can wander through the marble remains of Hierapolis and the star attraction has to be the partially restored Roman theatre, once capable of seating more than 12,000 spectators.
A seaside town on Turkey’s Turquoise Coast, fringed by the Taurus Mountains, Fethiye is stunningly situated. It's a charming coastal port with a breathtaking outer bay strewn with islands and a good base from which to opt to enjoy a good range of beaches and coastline. Fethiye itself offers a choice of charming cafes, bars and restaurants, not to mention shops, just perfect for a relaxing afternoon. From here you can opt to take a boat cruise to some of the offshore islands, explore the Lycian ruins dotted about the coast or just maroon yourself at a beach or bar!
The mysterious rock formations and underground cities of Cappadocia are perhaps the jewel in Turkey’s crown. Whole troglodyte villages, subterranean churches and fortresses have been hewn from the soft, porous, eerily eroded rock. The World-Heritage listed Goreme has over 30 magnificently frescoed Byzantine rock churches open for exploration. At Zelve is the famous phallic-like eroded landscape of so-called ‘fairy chimneys’. Sort of like entering a huge and complex chunk of Swiss cheese, with holes here and holes there, these underground cities are up to 8 levels deep. The complex system of apartments, public rooms and underground interconnecting streets, easily housed hundreds and hundreds of people in former times. Cappadocia is also an excellent region for the purchasing of carpets and for adventurous activities such as mountain biking and hiking. A hot air balloon ride over this magical landscape is highly recommended!