About The Canakkale Martyrs Memorial
The Canakkale Martyrs Memorial, also known as Şehitler Abidesi, is a Turkish monument to the 253,000 Turkish soldiers who died in the Gallipoli Campaign as part of the First World War.
History of The Canakkale Martyrs Memorial
The monument is located within the Gallipoli Peninsula Historical National Park in Çanakkale Province, Turkey.
This campaign, known in Turkey as the Canakkale Wars, took place in Turkey’s Gallipoli Peninsula.
It was launched on 25 April 1915 by the Commonwealth and the French in order to both remove the Ottoman Empire from the First World War and clear a supply route to Russia. It was also hoped that it would end the stalemate on the Western Front. The campaign failed and Allied troops were evacuated from Gallipoli.
In order to commemorate those who gave their lives during the campaign, it was decided that a monument would be built. An architectural competition was held in 1944. The first stone of the resulting design was placed in 1954, with financial constraints meaning that the main structure was only completed in 1958. In the meantime, the Turkish daily ‘Milliyet’ started a countrywide financial campaign, and it was finally officially opened in 1960.
The Canakkale Martyrs Memorial is a large four columned structure, with each column rising nearly 42 metres. A Turkish flag adorns the underside of its square roof.
Beneath the memorial is a museum which opened later. It contains information and artefacts which illustrate the sheer magnitude of the Battle of Gallipoli. A combination of personal and military items are on display, such as cutlery, a set of false teeth, dress buttons, belt buckles, sniper shields, and photographs.
From 1993-2005, the monument was depicted on the reverse of the Turkish 500,000 lira banknotes.
The Canakkale Martyrs Memorial Today
Today, the memorial is a popular, if sombre, site. It is worth taking a guide to fully understand the history of the battle and the site itself.
It is also worth looking out for a bronze statue which depicts the country’s oldest living veteran, who served in both the Balkan wars and the First World War before eventually dying at the age of 110.
There are also a number of nature trails which highlight the beautiful scenery around the site. For those who are true history enthusiasts, The Canakkale Martyrs Memorial offers a wealth of information, exhibits, and nature trails, so can be visited over a period of two to three days.
Getting to The Canakkale Martyrs Memorial
From the centre of Canakkale, the Martyrs Memorial is around a two hour drive via the D210 road.