Bodrum Tourist Attractions
West coast (Aegean Sea)SituationThe modern town of Bodrum (formerly Budrum), in Caria, lies on the site of the important ancient city of Halikarnassos in a little bay (Bodrum Limani) on the southwest coast of Asia Minor opposite the Greek island of Kos (Turkish Istanköy Adasi). Rising in terraces above the bay - a layout compared by Vitruvius in his "De Architectura" (II, 8) to an amphitheater - it is an exceedingly picturesque little town. The name Bodrum (= cellar or casemate) may be a corruption of the name of the Crusader castle of St Peter (Petronium), built by the Knights of St John, or it may refer to the arcading on the west side of the castle.In recent years Bodrum has developed into one of the leading holiday centers on the Aegean coast of Turkey. Its great attractions, in addition to its mild climate and delightful situation, are the beautiful bathing beaches and diving grounds in the immediate vicinity, the sheltered harbor (port of call for regular shipping lines and cruise ships), the marina, and the friendly atmosphere of the town. The center of modern Bodrum with its busy, colorful bazaars is situated at the northern end of the peninsula on which the castle stands.History of HalikarnassosHalikarnassos was founded about 1200 B.C. by Dorian Greeks from Troezen in the eastern Argolid (the area associated with the legends of Theseus and his son Hippolytos). Thanks to its good harbor and the fertile surrounding country Halikarnassos quickly developed into an important commercial city. Originally belonging to the Dorian League of six cities, the Hexapolis, it came under Lydian rule in the reign of Croesus (560-46). In 540 it passed, without resistance to the Persians, under whose overlordship the city was ruled by Carian princely families. After the Battle of Mykale (479) Halikarnassos became part of the Athenian Empire. Herodotus (484-425), the "Father of History" and the city's greatest son, was involved in the factional struggles which followed.In 413 Halikarnassos again fell into Persian hands and, after a brief period of autonomy (ca. 394-77), remained under Persian rule until Alexander's campaign. After 387, Hekatomnos, Satrap of Mylasa, gained control of the town and made it the chief city of Caria, replacing the more remote Mylasa. His successor Mausolos, one of the most important rulers of this period, established a strong position by skillful statesmanship and war and, following Hellenistic models, equipped the city with walls, harbors, palaces and temples. Under ancient Carian law women enjoyed great authority as the wives of their brothers, and when Mausolos died he was succeeded by his sister-wife Artemisia II (377-53 B.C.), who built the Mausoleion (Mausoleum), one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, in his honor.In 334 B.C., during Alexander's Persian campaign, the city withstood a long siege by his general Ptolemaios but was finally taken and destroyed. Its fortunes only revived again at the time of the Roman Empire. In 1523 Halikarnassos fell to the Ottomans, the castle surrendering without a fight.
The ancient city of Halikarnassos was traversed by a main street running from its east end to the fine Myndos Gate (Gümüsli Kapi) with its tower at the west end. In this street, in the center of the town, stood the famous Mausoleion or Mausoleum, which from the time of Augustus became a general term for a large tomb. Its architect was Pytheos. Under the direction of Satyros the rectangular tower-like structure, 46m/150ft high, was decorated with magnificent friezes by the most celebrated Greek sculptors of the day. Erected in 351 B.C. it survived in good condition until the 12th century A.D. Thereafter it may have been damaged by earthquakes and was then gradually pulled down, being finally destroyed in 1552 when the remaining stone was used to strengthen the castle against Ottoman attack. Dressed stones from the Mausoleum can be seen in the castle, the town walls, and at the bottom of an old well in the town. A reconstruction of the monument is planned.The first reliefs recovered from the Mausoleum were taken to London in 1846; in 1863 C. T. (later Sir Charles) Newton positively identified the site of the monument and removed much sculpture from the Mausoleion and the castle to the British Museum. Excavations were carried out by Danish archeologists in 1966/67.
Other Ancient Remains
Above the Mausoleion in Bodrum, to the northwest, is the ancient theater, from which there are extensive views. To the northeast are remains of a Doric stoa (colonnade), and above this the remains of a Temple of Ares (?). Still higher up, outside the town walls to east and west, are various tombs. At the entrance to the harbor fragments of the ancient piers survive. To the east of the naval harbor stood the palace of Mausolos built in the fourth century B.C. with a lavish use of marble. Along the north side of the harbor was the agora, in which stood a colossal statue of the god Ares.To the west of the city on the Hill of Kaplan Kalesi, the former acropolis, was the Carian stronghold of Salmakis. The famous spring of that name must have been somewhere below the north side of the hill.
Bodrum's principal sight, the Castle of St Peter, now known as Bodrum Kalesi, with its tall, well-preserved towers, was built by the Knights Hospitallers of St John between 1402 and 1437 on the site of the islet of Zephyrion, now joined to the mainland. It replaced an earlier castle built on the site of the first Greek settlement. The Turks erected other buildings within the precincts of the castle, and in the Late Ottoman period it was used as a place of exile. As with the defenses of Rhodes, knights of the various nationalities in the Order were entrusted with the defense of particular sections of the walls. The English Tower, having a sculpted lion on its west wall, is also known as the Lion Tower (or "Arslani Kule").
The various buildings within the castle in Bodrum, together with the upper and lower wards, have been turned into a very interesting museum, the arrangement of which has not yet been completed.From the mosque (1723) in the Harbor Square a ramp leads up into the outer ward, on the far side of which is an arched gateway giving access to the lower ward (ticket office). Here there is a Gothic chapel, built by Spanish knights in 1520 and later converted into a mosque. It contains Bronze Age material and the only fragment of a frieze from the Mausoleion still preserved in Bodrum. In the towers of the castle are collections of objects of various kinds and different periods (architectural fragments, sculptures, jewelry, coins, etc.) and other items are displayed in the open.
Underwater Archeology Museum
The Bodrum Underwater Archeology Museum is devoted to underwater archeology. There are original finds and reconstructions of material recovered from wrecks at Yassi Ada (a short distance west of Bodrum) and Cape Gelidonya (at Finike), displays of equipment used by underwater archeologists and illustrations of their methods, and a great variety of other objects recovered from the sea.Bodrum is the Turkish base of the University of Texas Institute of Nautical Archeology (College Station TX).
Map of Bodrum Attractions