The Dardanelles (Turkish: Çanakkale Boğazi) is a narrow, natural strait and internationally significant waterway in northwestern Turkey that forms part of the continental boundary between Europe and Asia, and separates Asian Turkey from European Turkey. One of the world’s narrowest straits used for international navigation, the Dardanelles connects the 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 long and 1.2 to 6 kilometres wide, averaging 55 metres deep with a maximum depth of 103 metres.
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 Straits. The contemporary Turkish name Çanakkale Boğazi, meaning “Çanakkale Strait”, is derived from the eponymous city that adjoins the strait, itself meaning “Pottery Fort” from Çanak (pottery) and Kale (Fortress) in reference to the area’s famous pottery wares and the landmark Ottoman fortress of Sultaniye.
The English name Dardanelles is an abbreviation of Strait of the Dardanelles. During Ottoman times there was 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 was said to take its name from Dardanus, the mythical son of Zeus and Electra.
As part of the only passage between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean, 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.
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 War. Troy was able to control the marine traffic entering this vital waterway.
The Dardanelles were vital to the defence of Constantinople during the Byzantine period.Also, the Dardanelles was an important source of income for the ruler of the region.
Ottoman era (1354–1922):
The 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 decline.
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