The Historical ‘Underwater Museum’ of Gallipoli is Now Open to the World

Posted On: 7 October, 2021 In Blog

The Gallipoli Peninsula located in the Southern Part of ‘East Thrace’ on the European Side of Turkey saw some of the most ferocious fighting of World War One between the Allied & Ottoman Forces, and is now home to 14 shipwrecks some of which are from that battle, and others of which date back to ancient times.

A costly sacrifice for all sides, where around 130,000 people tragically lost their life, it started in April 1915 when the Allied forces intended to secure a supply route to Russia and capture the city of Constantinople (modern day Istanbul), but a mighty defence left it nigh impossible and the Allies withdrew after around nine months of heavy fighting.

Until recently, access to the wrecks has been via a special permit, but, thanks to the hard work and dedication of Ismail Kasdemir (who heads up the area’s Canakkale Historical Site) it’s now been made into an ‘Underwater Museum’, and is open for divers to explore the history that lies on the seabed, and pay their respects to those that fought and died as a result of the campaign.

Savas Karakas who is a diver and documentary maker was one of the first to dive and explore the wrecks, when it all opened ‘permit free’ earlier this month. In a recent interview he commented ‘It’s like a time machine that takes you back to 1915 and World War 1. Each shipwreck is like a medal on our chest’. Professional underwater photographer Ethem Keskin, who also dived a short while after said ‘It’s a good opportunity for us to remember our past, I thought about the moment they sank, and you feel the stress of war’. For Karakas, there was also a more personal touch to the dive, as he was able to think back to his Grandfather who fought in the defence of the city, and was injured during the campaign.

Canakkale is already extremely well known to Tourists given it’s the former site of the Legendary City of Troy, and this will add another alternative to those who are already intrigued by the history of this area., and Turkey wants it to be the new go-to destination for those who want to be a part of history and connect deeply with events that changed & shaped the present day.

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