The road trip was finished back on Tuesday the 16th, but I’m a little behind. I figured I’ll show you a bunch of pictures and comment on them.
Gallipoli is a peninsula on the European side of the Dardanelles, which is the strait that leads from the Sea of Marmara to the Aegean. The Gallipoli Campaign was a British attempt to capture and control the straits, but also to open up yet another front for the Germans to defend. The British didn’t think highly of the Turkish army, a big mistake.
The British landed on the peninsula in several places, the most famous being ANZAC Cove, named for the Australian and New Zealand forces that fought there. The problem for the ANZACs was that the cove was surrounded by high cliffs that they would have to scale to get off the beach. Many casualties resulted.
The campaign lasted about 8 months. The troops were evacuated in late December 1915 and early January 1916. Total Allied casualties were around 200,000 killed or wounded; many died from the heat and from dysentery. The Turks estimate over 200,000 dead.
The Gallipoli Campaign is considered the birthplace of Australian and New Zealand national identity. It is also the birthplace of modern Turkey, as one of the leaders was a then unknown colonel by the name of Mustafa Kemal – who became the leader of Turkey and given the name Ataturk.
Edirne was the 2nd capital of the Ottoman Empire and is close to the borders of Bulgaria and Greece.
They relocated a 2nd capital from Bursa because of their territorial gains in the Balkan Peninsula. There are a couple of mosques we visited, each with their own beauty.
First is the Old Mosque (Eski Camii), built in 1414.
The most striking feature of this mosque is the large calligraphy painted on the walls. I would imagine when you are praying that you are in constant reminder of your connection to God. Some of the inscriptions have outlined words behind solid words. These would show a connection, and in one case a hierarchy of importance. One example below depicts one of the 99 names for God. the word Allah, or God is in the background, with the descriptor in front.
The other example has Muhammad in the background and Allah in front, showing the ranking in importance. The picture following is of the mihrab and minbar that also shows the scale of the calligraphy.
The next mosque is known as the Mosque of the Three Balconies (Uchsherefeli Camii), and was built from 1438-1447. It has different designs for each minaret and has a rather clean, simple interior space with very little decoration beside the domes and the area around the mihrab, and even that begins above the level of the doors.
The third mosque we visited was the Selimiye Mosque (1569-1575), designed by the famous Ottoman architect, Mimar Sinan. Sinan considered this mosque to be his greatest work.
It is a stunning space, I can see why he felt that it was his masterpiece.
For a few last images, while we were walking around we encountered some lovely examples of Ottoman style houses. We also discovered a pomegranate tree.