Çanakkale - Eceabat Çamyayla Atatürk Headquarters

Lieutenant Colonel Mustafa Kemal (Atatürk) who was the military Attache in Sofia had seen that The Ottoman Government inevitably was going to enter the World War One, had asked insistently from the Commander-in-Chief’s office to be appointed to an active duty. In return for his insistence, on 20 January 1915, he was appointed as the Commanding Officer to the 19 Division which was being established in the Tekirdag region. In a very short time Atatürk had finalized the establishment of this division and moved it to Eceabat on 25 February 1915 in order to be ready for a likely defence of the Gallipoli peninsula. After supplying the division here, on 18 April 1915 arrived at Çamyayla (the old name is Bigali) village and established his headquarters in a village house, a week before the war started. Atatürk, after his defensive and offensive battles against the superior enemy forces at Conkbayiri and Ariburnu, attracted attention of the whole world with his heroism, courage and the victories won and promoted to full Colonel on 1 June 1915. During those days Atatürk was preparing his offensive plans and directing the battle in his Çamyayla headquarters in a village house. After the Gallipoli victory, on 10 December 1915 Atatürk returned to Istanbul as a Hero.

This headquarters of Atatürk in Çamyayla, had been used as a house by its owners for many years after the Gallipoli wars. Everybody knew that Atatürk had spent his longest nights in this house, the kerosene lamps had been glowing until every dawn during the war. There is only one table remaining from the original furniture. Who knows how many days and nights Atatürk had used this table, marking the maps, drawing his war strategies. Finally, a “Çamyayla Atatürk Museum Founding Committee” was formed. First thing this committee had done was placing a signboard on the front door of the house with inscriptions reading: “The 19 Division headquarters of Atatürk in 1915”. The committee wanted to purchase the house from its owners to make it a museum. Finally they succeeded in this matter as well.

Later on, the Çamyayla Headquarters of Atatürk was turned over to the Ministry of Culture. After restoring the house, the Ministry opened it to public in 1973. The Atatürk Çamyayla Headquarters was constructed as a two-storey lathwork building. You enter to a small courtyard from its main door. In the ground floor there are one large and two small rooms. Through wooden stairs you can reach the large living room on the first floor. There are three rooms opening to the living room. The room in the middle is the largest and was the study room of Atatürk. The one on the right was his bedroom. The other room was used by his aide. The rooms had timber ceilings and floorings. Atatürk’s table is in the study room.

The Headquarters Museum had opened to exhibition after furnishing with articles and pictures of Atatürk collected later.