Coordinates: 40°12′N 26°24′E / 40.2°N 26.4°E / 40.2;
A map depicting the locations of the Turkish Straits, with the
Bosphorus marked in red, and the
Dardanelles in yellow. The sovereign
national territory of
Turkey is highlighted in green.
Map showing the location of the
Dardanelles (yellow) relative to the
Bosphorus (red). Also depicted are the Sea of Marmara, the Aegean Sea,
and the Black Sea.
Satellite image of the Dardanelles, taken from the
Landsat 7 in
September 2006. The body of water on the left is the Aegean Sea, while
the one on the upper right is the Sea of Marmara. The
the tapered waterway running diagonally between the two seas, from the
northeast to the southwest. The long, narrow upper peninsula on the
northern shores of the strait is
Gallipoli (Turkish: Gelibolu), and
constitutes the banks of the continent of Europe, while the lower
Troad (Turkish: Biga) and constitutes the banks of the
continent of Asia. The city of
Çanakkale is visible along the shores
of the lower peninsula, centered at the only point where a sharp
outcropping juts into the otherwise-linear Dardanelles.
Close-up topographic map of the Dardanelles.
Dardanelles (/dɑːrdəˈnɛlz/; Turkish:
Greek: Δαρδανέλλια, translit. Dardanellia), also known
Classical Antiquity as the Hellespont (/ˈhɛlɪspɒnt/; Greek:
Ἑλλήσποντος, Hellespontos, literally "Sea of Helle"), is a
narrow, natural strait and internationally-significant waterway in
Turkey that forms part of the continental boundary
Europe and Asia, and separates Asian
Turkey from European
Turkey. One of the world's narrowest straits used for international
Dardanelles connects the
Sea of Marmara
Sea of Marmara with the
Aegean and Mediterranean Seas, while also allowing passage to the
Black Sea by extension via the Bosphorus. The
Dardanelles is 61
kilometres (38 mi) long, and 1.2 to 6 kilometres (0.75 to
3.73 mi) wide, averaging 55 metres (180 ft) deep with a
maximum depth of 103 metres (338 ft) at its narrowest point
abreast the city of Çanakkale.
Most of the northern shores of the strait along the Gallipoli
Peninsula (Turkish: Gelibolu) are sparsely settled, while the southern
shores along the
Troad Peninsula (Turkish: Biga) are inhabited by the
city of Çanakkale's urban population of 110,000.
Together with the Bosphorus, the
Dardanelles forms the Turkish
2.1 Present morphology
3.1 Ancient Greek, Persian, Roman, and Byzantine eras (pre-1354)
3.1.1 Greek and Persian history
3.1.2 Byzantine history
3.2 Ottoman era (1354–1922)
3.2.1 Nineteenth century
3.2.2 World War I
3.3 Turkish republican and modern eras (1923–present)
5 In popular culture
6 Image gallery
7 See also
9 External links
The contemporary Turkish name
Çanakkale Boğazı, meaning "Çanakkale
Strait", is derived from the eponymous midsize city that adjoins the
strait, itself meaning "Pottery Fort"—from Çanak (pottery) + Kale
(Fortress)—in reference to the area's famous pottery and ceramic
wares, and the landmark Ottoman fortress of Sultaniye.
The English name
Dardanelles derives from the older name
Strait of the
Dardanelles. In Ottoman times there used to be a castle on each side
of the strait. These castles together were called the
Dardanelles, probably named after Dardanus, an ancient city on
the Asian shore of the strait which in turn takes its name from
Dardanus, the mythical son of
Zeus and Electra.
The ancient Greek name Ἑλλήσποντος (Hellespontos) means
"Sea of Helle", and was the ancient name of the narrow strait. It was
variously named in classical literature Hellespontium Pelagus, Rectum
Hellesponticum, and Fretum Hellesponticum. It was so called from
Helle, the daughter of Athamas, who was drowned here in the mythology
of the Golden Fleece.
As a maritime waterway, the
Dardanelles connects various seas along
the Eastern Mediterranean, the Balkans, the Near East, and Western
Eurasia, and specifically connects the
Aegean Sea to the Sea of
Marmara. The Marmara further connects to the
Black Sea via the
Bosphorus, while the Aegean further links to the Mediterranean. Thus,
Dardanelles allows maritime connections from the
Black Sea all the
way to the
Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean via Gibraltar, and
the Indian Ocean through the Suez Canal, making it a crucial
international waterway, in particular for the passage of goods coming
in from Russia.
The strait is located at approximately 40°13′N 26°26′E /
40.217°N 26.433°E / 40.217; 26.433.
The strait is 61 kilometres (38 mi) long, and 1.2 to 6 kilometres
(0.75 to 3.73 mi) wide, averaging 55 metres (180 ft) deep
with a maximum depth of 103 metres (338 ft) at its narrowest
point at Nara Burnu, abreast Çanakkale. There are two major
currents through the strait: a surface current flows from the Black
Sea towards the Aegean Sea, and a more saline undercurrent flows in
the opposite direction.
Dardanelles is unique in many respects. The very narrow and
winding shape of the strait is more akin to that of a river. It is
considered one of the most hazardous, crowded, difficult and
potentially dangerous waterways in the world. The currents produced by
the tidal action in the
Black Sea and the
Sea of Marmara
Sea of Marmara are such that
ships under sail must await at anchorage for the right conditions
before entering the Dardanelles.
As part of the only passage between the
Black Sea and the
Dardanelles has always been of great importance
from a commercial and military point of view, and remains
strategically important today. It is a major sea access route for
numerous countries, including
Russia and Ukraine. Control over it has
been an objective of a number of hostilities in modern history,
notably the attack of the Allied Powers on the
Dardanelles during the
1915 Battle of
Gallipoli in the course of World War I.
Ancient Greek, Persian, Roman, and Byzantine eras (pre-1354)
Greek and Persian history
The ancient city of
Troy was located near the western entrance of the
strait, and the strait's Asiatic shore was the focus of the Trojan
Troy was able to control the marine traffic entering this vital
waterway. The Persian army of
Xerxes I of Persia
Xerxes I of Persia and later the
Macedonian army of
Alexander the Great
Alexander the Great crossed the
opposite directions to invade each other's lands, in 480 BC and 334 BC
Herodotus tells us that, circa 482 BC,
Xerxes I (the son of Darius)
had two pontoon bridges built across the width of the Hellespont at
Abydos, in order that his huge army could cross from Persia into
Greece. This crossing was named by
Aeschylus in his tragedy The
Persians as the cause of divine intervention against Xerxes.
Herodotus (vv.34), both bridges were destroyed by a storm
and Xerxes had those responsible for building the bridges beheaded and
the strait itself whipped. The Histories of
Herodotus vii.33–37 and
vii.54–58 give details of building and crossing of Xerxes' Pontoon
Bridges. Xerxes is then said to have thrown fetters into the strait,
given it three hundred lashes and branded it with red-hot irons as the
soldiers shouted at the water.
Herodotus commented that this was a "highly presumptuous way to
address the Hellespont" but in no way atypical of Xerxes. (vii.35)
Harpalus the engineer eventually helped the invading armies to cross
by lashing the ships together with their bows facing the current and,
so it is said, two additional anchors.
From the perspective of ancient Greek mythology, it was said that
Helle, the daughter of Athamas, was drowned at the
Dardanelles in the
legend of the Golden Fleece. Likewise, the strait was the scene of the
legend of Hero and Leander, wherein the lovesick Leander swam the
strait nightly in order to tryst with his beloved, the priestess Hero,
and was drowned in a storm.
Dardanelles were vital to the defence of
Constantinople during the
Dardanelles was an important source of income for the ruler
of the region. At the
Istanbul Archaeological Museum a marble plate
contains a law by the Byzantine Emperor Anastasius I (491–518 AD),
that regulated fees for passage through the customs office of the
... Whoever dares to violate these regulations shall no longer be
regarded as a friend, and he shall be punished. Besides, the
administrator of the
Dardanelles must have the right to receive 50
golden Litrons, so that these rules, which we make out of piety, shall
never ever be violated... ... The distinguished governor and major of
the capital, who already has both hands full of things to do, has
turned to our lofty piety in order to reorganize the entry and exit of
all ships through the Dardanelles... ... Starting from our day and
also in the future, anybody who wants to pass through the Dardanelles
must pay the following:
– All wine merchants who bring wine to the capital
(Constantinopolis), except Cilicians, have to pay the Dardanelles
officials 6 follis and 2 sextarius of wine.
– In the same manner, all merchants of olive-oil, vegetables and
lard must pay the
Dardanelles officials 6 follis. Cilician
sea-merchants have to pay 3 follis and in addition to that, 1 keration
(12 follis) to enter, and 2 keration to exit.
– All wheat merchants have to pay the officials 3 follis per modius,
and a further sum of 3 follis when leaving.
Since the 14th century the
Dardanelles have almost continuously been
controlled by the Turks.
Ottoman era (1354–1922)
Dardanelles continued to constitute an important waterway under
the reign of the Ottoman Empire, starting with the conquest of
Gallipoli in 1354.
Ottoman control of the strait continued largely without interruption
or challenges until the 19th century, when the Empire started its
Gaining control or special access to the strait became a key foreign
policy goal of the
Russian Empire during the 19th century. During the
Napoleonic Wars, Russia—supported by Great Britain in the
Dardanelles Operation—blockaded the straits in 1807. Following the
Ottoman Empire's defeat in the Russo-Turkish War of 1828–29, in 1833
Russia pressured the Ottomans to sign the Treaty of Hunkiar
Iskelesi—which required the straits to be closed to warships of
Black Sea powers at Russia's request. That would have effectively
Russia a free hand in the Black Sea.
That treaty alarmed the losers,[clarification needed] who were
concerned that the consequences of potential Russian expansionism in
Black Sea and Mediterranean regions could conflict with their own
possessions and economic interest in the regions. At the London
Straits Convention in July 1841, the United Kingdom, France, Austria,
Russia to agree that only Turkish warships could
Dardanelles in peacetime. The
United Kingdom and France
subsequently sent their fleets through the straits to attack the
Crimean Peninsula during the
Crimean War (1853-1856) —but this was
done as allies of the Ottoman Empire. That convention was formally
reaffirmed by the
Congress of Paris
Congress of Paris in 1856, following the Russian
defeat in the Crimean War. It remained technically in force into the
20th and 21st centuries.
World War I
Main articles: Occupation of
Constantinople and Chanak Crisis
In 1915 the Allies sent a massive invasion force of British, Indian,
Australian, New Zealand, French and Newfoundland troops to attempt to
open up the straits. In the
Gallipoli campaign, Turkish troops trapped
the Allies on the beaches of the
Gallipoli peninsula. The campaign did
damage to the career of Sir Winston Churchill, then the First Lord of
the Admiralty, who had eagerly promoted the unsuccessful use of Royal
Navy sea power to force open the straits. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk,
later founder of the Republic of Turkey, served as a commander for the
Ottomans during the land campaign.
The Turks mined the straits to prevent Allied ships from penetrating
them, but in minor actions, two submarines, one British and one
Australian, did succeed in penetrating the minefields. The British one
sank an obsolete Turkish pre-dreadnought battleship off the Golden
Horn of Istanbul. Sir Ian Hamilton's Mediterranean Expeditionary Force
failed in its attempt to capture the
Gallipoli peninsula, and its
withdrawal was ordered in December 1915, after 8 months' fighting.
Total Allied deaths included 43,000 British, 15,000 French, 8,700
Australians, 2,700 New Zealanders, 1,370 Indians and 49
Newfoundlanders. Total Turkish deaths were around 60,000.
Following the war, the 1920
Treaty of Sèvres
Treaty of Sèvres demilitarized the strait
and made it an international territory under the control of the League
of Nations. The Ottoman Empire's non-ethnically Turkish territories
were broken up and partitioned among the Allied Powers, and Turkish
jurisdiction over the straits curbed.
Turkish republican and modern eras (1923–present)
After the dissolution of the
Ottoman Empire following a lengthy
campaign by Turks as part of the
Turkish War of Independence
Turkish War of Independence against
both the Allied Powers and the Ottoman court, the Republic of Turkey
was created in 1923 by the Treaty of Lausanne, which established most
of the modern sovereign territory of
Turkey and restored the straits
to Turkish territory, with the condition that
Turkey keep them
demilitarized and allow all foreign warships and commercial shipping
to traverse the straits freely.
As part of its national security strategy,
Turkey eventually rejected
the terms of the treaty, and subsequently remilitarized the straits
area over the following decade. Following extensive diplomatic
negotiations, the reversion was formalized under the Montreux
Convention Regarding the Regime of the
Turkish Straits in July 20,
1936. That convention, which is still in force today, treats the
straits as an international shipping lane while allowing
retain the right to restrict the naval traffic of non-Black Sea
During World War II, through February 1945, when
Turkey was neutral
for most of the length of the conflict, the
Dardanelles were closed to
the ships of the belligerent nations.
Turkey declared war on Germany
in February 1945, but it did not employ any offensive forces during
In July 1946, the
Soviet Union sent a note to
Turkey proposing a new
régime for the
Dardanelles that would have excluded all nations
Black Sea powers. The second proposal was that the straits
should be put under joint Turkish-Soviet defence. This meant that
Turkey, the Soviet Union, Bulgaria and Romania would be the only
states having access to the
Black Sea through the Dardanelles. The
Turkish government however, under pressure from the United States,
rejected these proposals.
NATO in 1952, thus affording its straits even more
strategic importance as a commercial and military waterway.
In more recent years, the
Turkish Straits have become particularly
important for the oil industry. Russian oil, from ports such as
Novorossyisk, is exported by tankers primarily to western
the U.S. via the
Bosphorus and the
The waters of the
Dardanelles are traversed by numerous passenger and
vehicular ferries daily, as well as recreational and fishing boats
ranging from dinghies to yachts owned by both public and private
The strait also experiences significant amounts of international
commercial shipping traffic by freighters and tankers.
Xerxes' Pontoon Bridges
Xerxes' Pontoon Bridges once spanned the Dardanelles, but upon their
failure, Xerxes had the body of water punished.
At present, there are no vehicular crossings across the strait.
However, as part of planned expansions to the Turkish National Highway
Network, the Turkish Government is considering the construction of a
suspension bridge between Sarıçay (a district of Çanakkale
Province) on the Asian side, to
Kilitbahir on the European side, at
the narrowest part of the strait. In March 2017, construction of
Çanakkale 1915 Bridge between the cities of
Gelibolu and Lapseki
In popular culture
English Romantic poet
Lord Byron (1788–1824) swam across the
Dardanelles on 3 May 1810, and recorded it in his poem Don Juan
Çanakkale, located along the southern shores of the strait, is the
finishing point every year for an organised swim across the
Dardanelles, which kicks off from Eceabat. This event emulates the
swim in 1810 by Lord Byron, who was himself emulating the legendary
swim by Leander in the story of Hero and Leander.
The shores of the strait are also the site of ancient Troy. The
"wooden horse" from the 2004 movie
Troy is exhibited on the seafront.
Dardanelles is also the site of two notable maritime accidents in
Turkish naval history, when two generations of the submarine TCG
Dumlupinar were struck by tankers on their way back from naval
missions. The first incident resulted in the deaths of 96 sailors,
while the second incident had no fatalities.
Due to the importance of the
Gallipoli Campaign in many countries'
Dardanelles also features prominently in many
documentaries and films about World War I.
Dardanelles is mentioned in the song No place like London from the
movie Sweeney Todd. The song is written and composed by Stephen
Sondheim and sung by
Johnny Depp and Jamie Campbell Bower. Jamie's
character Anthony sings, "I have sailed the world, beheld its wonders,
Dardanelles to the mountains of Peru..."
"Bow Down to Washington", the fight song of the University of
Washington, references the
Dardanelles in the lyrics: "Our boys are
there with bells, their fighting blood excels, it's harder to push
them over the line than pass the Dardanelles."
An artist's illustration depicting Xerxes' alleged "punishment" of the
Marble plate with 6th century AD Byzantine law regulating payment of
customs in the Dardanelles.
Historic map of the
Dardanelles by Piri Reis.
The ANZACs at
Gallipoli in 1915.
Map of the
Dardanelles drawn by G.F. Morrell, 1915, showing the
Gallipoli peninsula and the west coast of Turkey, as well as the
location of front line troops and landings during the Gallipoli
1915 Landing of French troops in Moudros (Lemnos island) during the
A view of the
A view of
Çanakkale from the Dardanelles.
Ferry line across the
Dardanelles in Çanakkale.
Aerial view of the city of Çanakkale.
Action of 26 June 1656
Battle of the
List of maritime incidents in the Turkish Straits
^ David van Hoogstraten and Matthaeus Brouërius van Nidek, Groot
algemeen historisch, geografisch, genealogisch, en oordeelkundig
woordenboek, Volume 5, Amsterdam/Utrecht/The Hague 1729, p. 25, s.v.
^ George Crabb, Universal Historical Dictionary, Volume 1, London
1825, s.v. 'Dardanelles'
^ Nautical Chart at GeoHack-Dardanelles, Map Tech
^ Rozakēs, Chrēstos L. (1987). The Turkish Straits. Martinus Nijhoff
Publishers. p. 1. ISBN 9024734649. Retrieved 1 August
^ http://classics.mit.edu/Aeschylus/persians.html; the play.
^ Green, Peter The Greco-Persian Wars (London 1996) 75.
^ Cabell, Phillips, The Truman presidency : the history of a
triumphant succession (New York 1966), 102 - 103.
Bosphorus Technical Consulting Corporation". www.botek.info.
Archived from the original on 2013-11-06.
Lord Byron swims the Hellespont - May 03, 1810 - HISTORY.com".
www.history.com. THIS DAY IN HISTORY.
Sweeney Todd feat. ... - No Place Like London Lyrics". LetsSingIt.
^ "Bow Down to Washington — UW Libraries".
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