Chances are you may never have heard of the city in Turkey named Canakkale. Nope.
Before I traveled to Turkey, I didn't know much about the country either, but when I started scoping out some major attractions, I learned that I had to travel to one place to do a few of them.
Say it with me…. Canakkale.
Canakkale became our base for a couple of days to explore these important attractions while taking in the vibe of a smaller sea-side city in Turkey.
Gallipoli and ANZAC Cove
Before moving to Australia, I had no idea about ANZAC Day or even the battle that took so many lives in such a short time.
Quickly I learned, and I learned what the Aussies told me about this important day, especially that it marks the landing of the ANZAC troops to a part of Turkey known as Gallipoli.
Since my boyfriend is Australian, we had to go.
We ventured to Canakkale and signed up for a half-day tour with TJ's Tours that took us across the strait on a ferry and further on a van tour of the entire peninsula.
Our tour involved visiting several memorial cemeteries in one of the most beautiful locations, making it that much more tragic for those soldiers stuck in battles for months on end.
Although a popular attraction on actual ANZAC Day (April 25th), I wouldn't recommend going at this time unless the place is of significant importance to you or your family.
We went a week beforehand and were happy to have a relatively easy time getting around, which is not the case when thousands of people flock to the tiny area.
The Ancient City of Troy
History buffs and Classics nerds (like myself) will jump at the chance to visit the ancient city of Troy – the site of the Trojan War and the focus of many great epics, such as the Iliad and the Aeneid.
The ruins of this once mythical location were uncovered and, after many studies, researchers concluded this was the site that Homer used as his inspiration for stories.
In fact, the excavation of the ruins shows several layers of cities, which would coincide with the idea of Troy being demolished and rebuilt over the course of hundreds of years.
To explore Troy, located a 45-minute drive away from Canakkale, we again signed up for a half-day tour with TJ's Tours, who provided the transport there and back, along with a guide at the site.
I was thrilled that we had the guide as, even for a history lover like myself, I would not have had a clue what I was looking at otherwise.
Troy was little more than a pile of rubble and rocks under the ground to the untrained eye, and our guide helped to bring it to life.
The real treasure — what was left — has been stowed away at the Çanakkale Archaeology Museum in Canakkale city.
The Movie-Famous Trojan Horse
One of the biggest attractions to the actual site of Troy is the ability to take a photo with the Trojan Horse. Now, you don't even have to go that far.
After the filming of the movie Troy, the one with Brad Pitt, the wooden horse used as a prop, was donated to the city of Canakkale.
It sits right in the heart of the city, along the boardwalk, and you can easily grab a shot or two with it.
The funny part is how different this Trojan Horse looks from the one at Troy's actual site.
Canakkale Archaeology Museum
The Canakkale Archaeology Museum might be small, but the contents combined with a meager 5 lire entrance fees make it a worthwhile stop.
Most of the artifacts inside – amphora, statues, and small tools – come from nearby excavations, such as Troy and Assos.
I also really enjoyed the museum's outdoor garden, which was littered with big bits and pieces of ruins, such as broken marble columns and giant amphorae.