The name Çanakkale means “Pottery Castle”, after the unique local ceramics that find their way into the ethnographic section of every Turkish museum. Dating from the nineteenth century, the style favours brown, green and yellow glazes – a statue-sized model of a popular design looks over Cumhuriyet Bulvarı – and was once considered crude and garish. Tastes seem to have changed, however. Genuine antique Çanakkale pottery is back in fashion, and fetches high prices in the fashionable decor shops of İstanbul.
A good place to poke around for a hidden bargain is the well-restored old bazaar beyond the clocktower. With its ornate shops – especially the 1889-built Yalı Hanı – and houses, it testifies to the town’s pre-1923 polyglot profile. Until Cretan Muslims arrived as part of the population exchanges, Çanakkale (like İzmir) held significant Greek, Jewish and Armenian populations, and even foreign consuls – the Italian one donated the clocktower in 1897.