/dahr'dn elz"/, n. (used with a pl. v.)the strait between European and Asian Turkey, connecting the Aegean Sea with the Sea of Marmara. 40 mi. (64 km) long; 1-5 mi. (1.6-8 km) wide. Ancient, Hellespont.
* * *Narrow strait between the peninsula of Gallipoli in Europe and the mainland of Turkey in Asia.Some 38 mi (61 km) long and 0.75–4 mi (1–6 km) wide, it links the Aegean Sea with the Sea of Marmara. Strategically important from antiquity, the Dardanelles was defended by Troy from its position on the Asian side. In 480 BC the Persian Xerxes I crossed the strait to invade Greece; Alexander the Great also crossed it in 334 BC on his expedition against Persia. Held by the Roman Republic and Empire and the Byzantine Empire and later by the Ottoman Empire, it is of great strategic and economic importance as the gateway from the Black Sea to Istanbul and the Mediterranean Sea.
* * *narrow strait in northwestern Turkey, 38 mi (61 km) long, linking the Aegean Sea with the Sea of Marmara. It is 3/4 to 4 mi wide and lies between the peninsula of Gallipoli in Europe (northwest) and the mainland of Asia Minor (southeast). The strait's average depth is 180 ft (55 m), reaching a maximum of 300 ft in the narrowest central section. There is a rapid surface current from the Sea of Marmara to the Aegean and a compensatory undercurrent returning more saline water. Important ports along the shores are Gallipoli (Gelibolu Limani), Eceabat, and Çanakkale; and many famous castles stand along its banks. The waters are rich in various kinds of fish that migrate between the Black and Aegean seas.The strait holds a significant place in history. The Hellespont is the scene of the Greek legend of the two lovers Hero and Leander. The ancient city of Troy defended the Dardanelles from its strategic position at the southwest end (Asian side). In 480 BC the Persian army of Xerxes I crossed the strait by a bridge of boats; and Alexander the Great did the same in 334 BC on his expedition against Persia. The strait has always been of great strategic and economic importance as the gateway to Istanbul and the Black Sea from the Mediterranean. The strait was forced by a British fleet under Adm. Sir John T. Duckworth in 1807, but during World War I the Allies failed to capture it, although a British submarine penetrated the minefields and sank a Turkish battleship off the Golden Horn, an inlet on the Bosporus strait. The Dardanelles' location has given it international political importance (see Straits Question).The city of Dardanus in the Troad (territory around ancient Troy), where Mithradates VI (king of Pontus) and Sulla (the Roman general) signed a treaty in 85 BC, gave the strait its name.
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