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Gallipoli Updated - 2006

Changes and Additional Visitors Information

Getting There

We once again flew British Airways, and while the cost of this was included in the tour we were doing, BA are doing some good deals to Istanbul at present. Some of the cheaper UK based airlines will also be flying into Istanbul fairly soon, which will make it even cheaper to get there. A new internal flight between Istanbul to Canakkale will be in operation shortly which will cut down the time it takes to get to the area.

The Turkish Government still operate a Visa system, with a £10 fee payable in cash to all UK passport holders who arrive at Istanbul. It is a similar fee for EU member states, but it varies for other countries. For more details visit this site.

The journey to Gallipoli was improved on last time, with marginally better road conditions in most places. There is a good services at Takirdag, with large parking, good, clean toilets, food and a shop. You can also get fuel here.

Currency - Cost of Living

Since I was last in Turkey the currency has devalued by taking six zeros off the Lire and it is now shown as 'YTL' - which stands for New Turkish Lire. In May 2006 it was roughly 2.5 YTL to £1. Notes come in 1, 5, 10, 20, and 50 denominations, but there are also large notes as well. Coins are mainly 25c, 50c and 1 YTL. The old currency is no longer valid. 

What was particularly noticeable, and possibly due to these changes, is that Turkey is no longer as cheap as it was. In Istanbul we could rarely get a meal for less than 30 YTL; in Gallipoli it was nearer 20/25 YTL. The cost of a beer varied from 2.5 YTL in Gallipoli to nearly 10 YTL in Istanbul. Fuel was more expensive than in the UK, which surprised me. Prices did vary, though.

Accommodation

We stayed in the excellent Kum Hotel which is located near Gaba Tepe, and is about 20 minutes from ANZAC and under 30 from the Helles battlefield. It has its own beach, pool, restaurant and bar, and the evening meals are buffet style and very good indeed. You can also camp and caravan here. Rooms are all en-suite, with shower and toilet, plus TV and air conditioning. Using the website link above you can now make a reservation on-line.

There are also hotels now well established in Eceabat, such as TJ Tours Hostel. I also met Eric Goossens on the trip, who is opening a 10 bedroom hotel in the area in late 2006 or early 2007. His website is found here.

Many people use hotels across the narrows in Canakkale such as the ANZAC Hotel. However, I understand from some of the locals that the tremendous number of Turkish tour groups coming into the area, there can be heavy delays on the ferries across to Gallipoli - with delays of up to 5 hours not being unusual. The standard of hotels in Canakkale is generally higher than on Gallipoli, and only personal choice can determine whether such a delay is worth it.

New Visitors Centre

A new Visitors Centre opened in 2005 at the main entrance to the Gallipoli National Park (Milli Park), just north of Eceabat. It is a modern building with a display of photos, a cinema, battlefield information plus a shop and café; the excellent Park Map (see below) can be bought here. There are also good, clean toilets. For more details visit this page on the site.

Gallipoli Park Map 

This is now available at the new Visitors Centre mentioned above for 5 YTL and has been updated since I was last in Gallipoli. It still represents the best map available of the Gallipoli battlefields.

Battlefield Visitors

Definitely on the increase - we were told between 2.5 and 6 million Turks visit the area each year, and it is clear the infrastructure is both changing and finding it hard to cope with the numbers; there was a lot of rubbish about and many 'souvenir stalls' which many would not see appropriate. The ferry across the Dardenelles is also finding it hard to cope with groups coming from Asia; on many days there are delays of up to 5 hours getting across.

It is clear more British people are visiting the Gallipoli battlefields, but still the greatest number are from Australia and New Zealand; the fewest number come from France - the visitor's book in the French cemetery at Morto Bay went back to the early 1990s in only a few pages.

 

It still remains one of the most amazing and beautiful Great War battlefields - and one which anyone seriously interested in the subject should visit.

Paul Reed

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