This article has been previously published as a part of book Gallipoli Peninsula and the Troad: TAN Travel Guide by Izabela Miszczak
Eceabat is a town situated on the eastern side of the Gallipoli Peninsula, on the shore of the Dardanelles. Its current importance for tourism in the region results from the proximity of the most important places associated with the military campaign during the First World War, including battlefields and cemeteries of the fallen soldiers. In addition, Eceabat is an important ferry port which enables crossing the Dardanelles Strait to the city of Çanakkale, located on the Asian shore of the strait.
Eceabat was formerly known as Maydos (Madytos), and its current name is probably a distorted Arabic word from the military dictionary - Hijabat - which means the furthest point of command on the battlefield.
The city was founded as a Greek colony, in the 7th century BCE. The settlers were the Greeks from the Aeolian tribe, living on the island of Lesbos in the Aegean Sea. Later, Maydos was also settled by the Greeks from the cities of Miletus and Klazomenai in Asia Minor. Maydos is mentioned by the historian Herodotus in the context of the wars against the Persians, and by Thucydides, in reference to the battle of Eurymedon, fought between the member states of the Ionian League and the Persian Empire in 466 BCE.
In the Byzantine period, Maydos was a famous trading port. In the 15th century, the Turks conquered it, but until the 20-ies of the 20th century, the city was inhabited mainly by the Greek population. As a result of population exchange established by the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923, most of the inhabitants were resettled to the present-day Greece.
While walking along the promenade or waiting for the ferry to Asia, you can take an opportunity of visiting the Respect for History Park (tr. Tarihe Saygı Parkı), established in 2008. It is an outdoor exhibition, where several battle scenes of the First World War have been recreated. There are also some exhibits from this period of history. Admission to the park is free of charge.
There are two mosques in the centre of Eceabat: the Mosque of the Fallen (tr. Şehitler Camii), built in 1984, with a terrace overlooking the Dardanelles Strait, and utterly uninteresting City Mosque (tr. Merkez Cami).
Seyit Ali Çabuk Monument (tr. Seyit Onbaşı Anıtı) stands near Liman Balık Restaurant. It shows the brave soldier of the Ottoman army, who became famous for having carried three artillery shells, each weighing 275 kg, during the Allied attempt to force the Dardanelles on 18 March 1915. His deed enabled the bombardment of the Allied fleet despite the broken shell crane.
To the south of the city, there is a narrow pebble beach where you can seize the opportunity to swim in the Dardanelles Strait.
Even further to the south, 1.5 km from the city centre, you can find Çamburnu Information Center (tr. Çamburnu Ziyaretçi Merkezi). In this facility, you can get information about the Battle of Gallipoli and the most important sites commemorating the events of the First World War. A small museum operates onsite.
The Ottoman fortress in Kilitbahir is located just 5 km to the south of Eceabat. Eceabat is also the most convenient base for visiting the battlefields and cemeteries from the times of the First World War.
Eceabat is located on the western shore of the Dardanelles. D550 (E87) route, connecting the most important cities of Gallipoli Peninsula, runs through Eceabat. This road goes in an arc around the centre of Eceabate, skirting it from the west, and serving as a ring road known as Atatürk Street (tr. Atatürk Caddesi).
Two main streets in the centre of Eceabat are: Republic Street (tr. Cumhuriyet Caddesi) and Independence Street (tr. İstiklal Caddesi). These streets go along the shore of the Dardanelles and join next to the ferry terminal where they widen to form the Square of the Republic (tr. Cumhuriyet Meydanı). Independence Street continues further in the southerly direction, with a parallel Zubeyde Hanım Square (tr. Zubeyde Hanım Meydanı). In this area, you can find hotels, shops, restaurants, and service points.
The beach district of the city is located on the southern side of Eceabat, beyond the junction of the ring road and Independence Street. There you can also find several hotels and B&Bs, of a higher standard than in the city centre.
Cheaper restaurants are located around Zubeyde Hanım Square, opposite the ferry terminal. More expensive venues that serve fish and seafood are situated a little further to the south.
If you choose to dine in a cheaper restaurant, go to Yavuz Lokantasi near the ferry terminal. It offers several kinds of soups (3-4 TL), kebabs (7-10 TL), and a bistro menu of meat, vegetables, and salads. Nearby eateries offer similar menus and prices: Meydan Lokantasi specialises in chicken kebab, and Halicarnassus Pide Kebap Salonu also serves Turkish pizza (tr. pide).
Liman Balık Restaurant, located at the end of the promenade, serves fish dishes and traditional Turkish snacks (tr. meze) as well as Turkish breakfasts and soups. Expect to pay at least 10 TL per person, not including drinks, for the pleasure of consumption of grilled fish on a pleasantly shaded terrace.
In Eceabat, there are many groceries, as well as discount shops of Bim (on Arif Hikmet Street) and A101 (on Independence Street) networks.
You can also buy typical souvenirs of the Gallipoli Peninsula, commemorating the battles of the First World War. The stands on the promenade are dominated by shoddy pictures and miniatures of Seyit Ali Çabuk Monument.
Banks, ATMs, and a post office are all located at the Square of the Republic, right next to the ferry terminal. In this location, you can also find the offices of coach companies, and the taxi stand and minibus stop are nearby.
Tourist Information Office is located on Republic Street No. 72. It is open on weekdays, from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, but, unfortunately, its employees do not speak foreign languages very well.
By coach: there are numerous coach connections from Eceabat, for example to Istanbul (6 hours, 45 TL) and Izmir (7 hours, 40 TL).
By minibus: local minibuses go from Eceabat to Gelibolu (1 hour, 5 TL) and Kilitbahir (10 minutes, 1.50 TL). Additionally, there is a connection to the ferry terminal in Kabatepe (15 minutes, 2,50 TL), on the western side of Gallipoli Peninsula. There you can catch a ferry to the Aegean island known as Gökçeada.
By car: Eceabat is situated on D550 route, from Istanbul to Çanakkale (by ferry). The distance from Gelibolu is 45 km, and the road offers beautiful vistas of the Dardanelles and its Asian shore. If you drive from Eceabat further to the south, you will get to Kilitbahir, just 4 km away.
By ferry: as there is no bridge over the Dardanelles yet, the only way of crossing the strait to its Asian shore is by a ferry. The ferries connect Eceabat with Çanakkale. The ferry terminal in Eceabat is the main one on the Gallipoli Peninsula.
The ferries offer regular connections, at all times of day and night. At night, there travel every two hours, and during the day - every hour. In summer, the frequency rises to two ferries per hour. The crossing takes approximately 25 minutes. The price for a passenger car (with all passengers included) is 29 TL, and a single ticket per person costs 2.50 TL.
Because of heavy traffic on this route, there are frequent traffic jams in Eceabat, created by cars and buses that await the boarding. The best idea is to avoid the crossing in the afternoons, especially on Sundays.
If you plan to stop for a night in Eceabat, remember the dates of the anniversaries of the battles of Gallipoli. Book your accommodation well in advance if you plan a stay in March or April. In other months of a year finding accommodation in Eceabat is not a problem. Several hotels are situated opposite the ferry terminal and along the coast, on Republic Street and Independence Street.
Boss is the largest network of hotels in Eceabat with the following accommodation options:
- Boss Hotel - the flagship of the Boss hotel chain is located right next to the ferry terminal, at the Square of the Republic. Hotel guests can take advantage of free parking in the city centre, and wireless network. Double room with breakfast costs about 90 TL.
- Boss II Hotel - away from the centre, to the south, on Mehmet Akif Street. The rooms are small and modestly furnished but clean and renovated. The price includes a typical Turkish breakfast. Double room costs around 85 TL.
- Aqua Boss Hotel - the most attractive of the group, located on Independence Street No. 91. It is situated on the waterfront, in a renovated stone building of a former tomato canning factory. It has its restaurant, private parking, and a fitness centre. The breakfast, included in the price is plentiful and delicious. Expect to pay around 90 TL for a double room.
Also, the following hotels are noteworthy in Eceabat:
- Casa Villa Hotel - located on the southern side of the city, on Camburnu Street No. 75. It is the most elegant and best-rated hotel in Eceabat. It has its garden, where rich, village-style breakfasts are served. Dinners are also prepared for the guests upon request. Prices for double rooms start from 160 TL.
- Crowded House Hotel - located in the city centre, on Hüseyin Avni Street No. 4. It is the most popular place among foreign tourists visiting Eceabat. In addition to standard single, double, and triple rooms (from 60 to 100 TL), it offers accommodation in a dormitory, for 20 TL per person.
- Ejder Hotel - on Atatürk Street No. 5, near Seyit Ali Çabuk Monument. This highly rated new hotel offers clean, but small rooms and breakfast included in the price. Expect to pay at least 100 TL for a double room.
- Grand Eceabat Hotel - situated in the city centre, at the Square of the Republic, near the ferry terminal. It offers spacious, elegantly furnished rooms at the price of 70 TL for a double room with breakfast included.