Under a mile wide at its narrowest point, the Hellespont is a narrow channel separating Asia from Europe.
Historically the crossroads from Asia to Europe, it has been a natural barrier for invading armies. Both King Xeres I of Persia in 480BC and Alexander the Great a century and a half later crossed the strait on a bridge of boats and throughout history the Hellespont was the first line of defence for Constantinople.
Hero & Leander Love Story
It is also a scene of the legendary love story as depicted in Greek mythology of Hero and Leander. Hero, a priestess of Aphrodite lived on the European side of the Hellespont in a high tower by the sea. Her lover Leander lived on the opposite Asian side and in order to spend the night with Hero, Leander swam the Hellespont guided by a lighted lantern fix to the top of the tower, returning at dawn to the Asian shore. On one fateful occasion Hero’s lamp was extinguished by the wind and in the darkness Leander lost his way and was drowned. On hearing of his death and overcome with grief, Hero threw herself from the tower in a distraught bid to be reunited with her beloved Leander.
Hero & Leander Poem
The First Sestiad
The Hellespont was also the scene of the initial naval assault of the Gallipoli Campaign in World War I. A number of Turkish, British & French wrecks litter the sea floor.
The predominant current is from North to South as water flows from the Black Sea to the Aegean Sea. However, there are a few smaller counter currents on both sides of the straits. For the swim crossing we take advantage of the North-South current as we swim from Eceabat to Çanakkale
The straight line distance from the start in Eceabat to the finish in Çanakkale is approximately 3 miles. With the prevailing current, you can estimate that you will be swimming the equivalent of roughly 2 miles.