It is a famous tourism city which has the first underwater archaeology museum of Turkey in its gorgeous castle inherited from Rhodes Knights. The oldest known name of it is Halikarnas (Halicarnassus). In ancient times, Halikarnas was a city of Karya covering the whole Mugla and some part of Aydin. According to Homer epics, people called Karyas and Lelegs lived in this country. Karyas joined the 10-year Troy War beside Trojans.

   According to the famous historian Herodotus born in Halikarnas, the city was rebuilt by the Dor emigrants in 7th century BC. With the dominance of Persians, invading Anatolia, over Karya and its neighbourhood in 546 BC, Halikarnas was governed by the local princes subordinate to Persians. It became the capital of Karya at the time of King Mausolos. After a while, it was conquered and devastated by the armies of Alexander the Great. After it was dominated by Egypt, Rome, sailors in Rhodes, Pontus Kingdom and Byzantine supremacy in order, Halikarnas was dominated by Menteşeoğulları Principality in the second half of 13th century and was conquered by Rhodes Knights at the beginning of 15th century. During the Rhodes State of War in 1522, it entered into Ottoman at the time of Sultan Suleiman the Lawmaker.

   The main works of art in Bodrum are the mausoleum of Mausolos, the Roman age theatre and Bodrum Castle. Mausoleion, defined as one of the Seven Wonders of the World in Ancient Time, was made by the wife Artemisia for the dead King Mausolos. This gorgeous work of art consisting of the marble sculptures of Mausolos and Artemisia in a coach with four horses on the top, some kind of temple side in Ionic style surrounded by 36 columns on a high ground and a pyramid with 24 steps built on it was 42 meter in height. The word “mausoleum” used for the equivalent of the monumental tomb comes from Mausoleion.

   Mausoleion was surrounded by a marble wall. Many parts of this wall have been uncovered in the recent digs. The length of the wall is about 242 meter in the north and 105 meter in the east.


   We have only the basis of Mausoleion today. This gorgeous building, which even Alexander the Great did not allow being ravaged and survived for ages, was destroyed by the earthquakes from time to time and its marbles were used in the construction of Bodrum Castle by Rhodes Knights in the Middle Age. The relief, representing a fight with Amazons and found on the castle wall in the middle of 18th century, and the relief, uncovered by the digs, and the sculptures of Mausolos and his wife Artemisia were taken to England with the permission of the sultan. These are exhibited in British Museum. Two relief pieces, found in the digs recently, are in Bodrum Museum.

   The small but beautiful Roman age theatre near the main road passing through the upper side of the city has been restored to a great extent. On the high towers of the castle which was one of the safest buildings of middle age in Anatolia and built by Rhodes Knights, we meet with the unique view of the sea and the city.

   In order to reinforce the defence in the castle which started to be built at the beginning of 15th century, new towers such as English Tower, French Tower, Italian Tower, German Tower, and Spanish Tower were built in different dates. The castle, built in the name of Saint Petrus, is in the middle of two bays and on Zephyria cliff which was once an island and then the gap of which between the lands was filled. The castle was named as Petronium meaning “Petrus’ Island” because of Saint Petrus and this turned into Bodrum by changing in time.


Picture from Bodrum Castle Museum

   The castle consisting of three walls and five towers one within the other is seen everywhere in Bodrum. It is used as museum today. Besides the underwater foundlings, underground foundlings, uncovered around Bodrum, take place in the museum, too. The Mycenaean age vases dated as 14th – 12th centuries BC and unearthed in Ortakent (Müsgebi) are exhibited in the Gothic church in the castle. These are the most valuable Mycenaean works of art except the ones in Greece. In the same place, there are vases belonging to the oldest Dor settlement known in Anatolia and dated as 9th – 8th centuries BC and uncovered in Gökçebel (Dirmil) in Bodrum region and there is a tomb dated as 9th century BC and made out of terra-cotta. The sections, in which the valuable and unique works of art removed from the underwater are exhibited, are the most interesting areas of the museum. In the past, the pots called amphora and got caught in the fishnets of the spongers and fishers were being used in order to cool water at home or sold. Also, the Underwater Archaeology Museum takes place in Bodrum Castle. Here, the bronze piles and the tools removed from a sunken belonging to the Bronz Age are exhibited.

   The last treasure unearthed from the mystery of the blueness is a Fatımi ship detected as sunken 935 years ago. Many valuable things have been taken from this ship. Also, the ship has been removed as a result of the five-year scientific underwater digs. The glass objects in the Bodrum Museum are one of the four biggest glass collections in the world. The cannon blockhouse at the entrance of the castle has turned into the art gallery where the exhibitions are opened constantly. Bodrum Castle and Museum are the treasures of the history which are curiously visited by the people coming to the city for holiday.

Bodrum Castle

   Bodrum was a small harbour of fisher and sponger until 1960. Bodrum and its neighbourhood acquired fame and became a holiday city attracting much attention with the “Blue Cruises” which Halikarnas Balıkçısı organized with his artist friends such as Sabahattin Eyuboğlu and Azra Erhat.

   Halicarnassos or Bodrum with its new name... The place where Heredot, the father of the history, lived and the heart of the enjoyable beaches, interesting myths, snow-white houses and unlimited nightlife beats...

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