Turkey // The North Aegean //

The west-coast sites

The logical first stop on a tour of the west coast’s Gelibolu sites, the Kabatepe Information Centre and Museum, 9km northwest of Eceabat (daily 9am–1pm & 2–6pm; TL3), contains archive photos, maps, weapons, trenching tools, uniforms, mess-kits, personal effects – like touching letters home – and a few human remains, including a Turkish skull with a bullet lodged in it.

The first sites along the coast road north of the Centre are the Beach, Shrapnel Valley and Shell Green cemeteries – the latter 300m inland up a steep track, suitable only for 4WD vehicles. Shrapnel Valley was the one perilous supply line up-valley from what’s now the Beach Cemetery to the trenches.

These are followed by Anzac Cove and Arıburnu, site of the first, bungled Anzac landing and location of the dawn service on Anzac Day. At both, memorials bear Atatürk’s famous conciliatory quotation concerning the Allied dead, which begins: “Heroes who shed their blood and lost their lives! You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace.” Looking inland, you’ll see the murderous badlands – including the eroded pinnacle overhead nicknamed “The Sphinx” by the hapless Australians – that gave the defenders such an advantage. Beyond Anzac Cove, the terrain flattens out and the four other cemeteries (Canterbury, No. 2 Outpost, New Zealand No. 2 Outpost and Embarkation Pier) are more dispersed.

Good dirt tracks lead north from Arıburnu to the beaches and salt lake at Cape Suvla, today renamed Kemikli Burnu (“bone-strewn headland”), location of four more cemeteries of August casualties, mostly English, Scottish, Welsh and Irish.