The Ancient History
Gallipoli, called Gelibolu in modern Turkish, historically known as Callipolis which derives from the Greek word Kallipolis, meaning "Beautiful City". It is located on the Gallipoli Peninsula (Gelibolu Yarimadasi), with the Aegean Sea to the west and the Dardanelles straits to the east. An important Byzantine fortress, it was the first Ottoman conquest (c. 1356) in Europe and was maintained as a naval base because of its strategic importance for the defence of Istanbul. It was also a key transit station on the trade routes from Rumelia (Ottoman possessions in the Balkans) to Anatolia. The peninsula did not see any wars up until World War I when the British Allies tried to find a way to reach their troubled allies in the east and Imperial Russia also decided to try to obtain passage to the east. The Ottomans set up defensive fortifications along the peninsula with German help. Gallipoli was the scene of determined Turkish resistance to the Allied forces and most of the City was destroyed in the process. All that remains are the storehouses of the Byzantine emperor Justinian (6th century), a 14th-century square castle attributed to the Ottoman sultan Bayezid I, and mounds known as the tombs of Thracian kings reflect the historical importance of Gallipoli.