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Bigali Fortress

Remains of defensive structures of the Bigali Fortress (Turkish: Bigali Kalesi) are visible just along the Gelibolu – Eceabat route, about 6 km from the second of these cities. The construction of the fortress had started at the end of the 18th century, during the reign of Sultan Selim III, and finished at the beginning of the 19th century, during the reign of Mahmud II.

The Bigali Fortress was founded as an artillery post, which was to protect the Dardanelles Strait from the threat of the British Navy. The Fort of Nara was built on the Asian shore of the strait at the same time.


The materials from the nearby ancient castle Sestos were used for construction of the Bigali Fortress. Although there is not much left to this day of this building, the mythological tale of a tragic pair of lovers: priestess of the goddess Aphrodite named Hero from Sestos and Leander from Abydos is worth mentioning. Leander swam across the Dardanelles Strain to his beloved Hero. He was guided by the light of the lamp placed in the window. One stormy night the lamp gone out, Leander has drowned. Having learnt about his fate, Hero killed herself by jumping off the tower. In 1810, Lord Byron repeated Leander’s achievement, swimming across the strait from Sestos to Abydos, which took him four hours. Although in 1980 the Bigali Fortress has been registered on the list of archaeological sites by the Turkish Ministry of Culture, there are no maintenance or renovation works conducted and the whole is falling into disrepair.


When searching for information on the Bigali Fortress, it is worth to know that it has several alternative names: Bogali Kalesi, Bokali Kalessi, Bokali Kalessı and Boğalı Kalesi.




The Bigali Fortress is located on the route D550, 6 kilometres north of Eceabat, on the side of the Dardanelles Strait. Its location is marked with a bronze plaque with the inscription “Bigali Kalesi”, which is visible only for those travelling from Eceabat. Large information boards about the village of Bigali Köyü located at the crossroads serve as much better information points. You can park your car next to them at the wide roadside.


Practical information


Although the walls of the Bigali Fortress are relatively well preserved, access to them is made difficult by the thicket, covering the whole area of the castle. Be careful! – the brambles may cause harm to your legs, co it is worth to stock up on long trousers made from the solid material. Since the fortress is not developed and it is not guarded by anyone, you do not need to buy entry tickets.


Text: Izabela Miszczak – Turcja w Sandałach