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Canakkale, Turkey

The Turkish city of Canakkale lies along both sides of the Dardanelles strait that links the landlocked Sea of Marmara to the Aegean. Like Istanbul on the Bosphorus — which connects the Marmara to the Black Sea — Canakkale straddles Europe and Asia while also stretching across the history of Western civilization. Indeed, the port has played a pivotal role in everything from the Greek myth of the Golden Fleece to the Gallipoli campaign of World War I. It also serves as your portal back in time to ancient Troy, setting for the epic Trojan War of Homer’s Iliad and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Explore the expansive ruins, tour the impressive museum, and climb inside a 40-foot-high replica of the infamous wooden horse used by the Greeks to enter the city. (Another wooden horse, built for the 2004 movie Troy, stands along Canakkale’s lively waterfront.) You can pay homage at the Gallipoli battlefields, or visit the pretty fishing town of Behramkale, located just below the ancient city of Assos — home to Aristotle’s philosophy academy and another World Heritage site.