We often think of Gallipoli and Çanakkale as being the main locations of the Gallipoli Campaign whereas in reality any tour of the main sites of this campaign will always begin in Eceabat. This is actually the nearest town to the Gallipoli Campaign battlefields of 1915. It is here that you will find all the memorials and cemeteries for the fallen soldiers from Turkey and the Allies.
Crossing over from Çanakkale by a half hour ferry crossing brings you into the town. For those coming from Istanbul you will probably have travelled down the main highway from Tekirdag. The town of Edeabat on the Dardanelles straits has a population of around 5000.
Eceabat has a pleasant promenade, small marina and ferry terminal. It is one of the main crossings over the Dardanelles the other is a little further up the coast at Lapseki – Gelibolu. The town has a good selection of reasonable hotels and restaurants and is essentially a gateway to the War Graves in Memory of the Gallipoli Campaign that cost so many lives in 1915.
Bigalı is a small village near Eceabat. It is famous because during the Gallipoli Campaign it was the headquarters of Colonel Mustafa Kemal who would later become known as Atatürk ( the father of Turks ). This strategic point and important defence against the Allied Forces was key to protecting Istanbul. It was from here that Mustafa Kemal organised his forces.
The village has been given a make over with its smart looking stone houses and billboards in English and Turkish. Visitors to the village can visit the modest house from which Mustafa Kemal directed his troops. Surprisingly the village does not get a large number of foreign tourists who either do not understand the significance of the village in the overall campaign or are just busy trying to get round the Allied War Memorials which is a shame because this is an important location which should be on everyone’s destination list.
There are two museums in the village. Firstly, there is the House of Atatürk, the old headquarters which was restored in 1973 and turned into a museum.The second museum is the Museum of the 19th Division which gives you an insight into how the Ottoman soldiers dressed and some daily life scenes with letters and documents relating to the military campaign.
See also Kilitbahir Castle