Bodrum in ancient times

the father of history writing


  The history of Bodrum, known as Halicarnassus or Halicarnassos goes back to the 13th century BC. Excavaties reveal the 5000 year old history of this town. Many civilisations found their home here. Carians for excample, Homer tells in his Ilia, that the Carians helped to defend Troya.

Heredotus, known as the father of history, was born
in Bodrum in 484 BC.- and he said that Bodrum had
been founded by the Dorians. The next settlers were Carians and Lelegians. In the 6'th. century BC., the region came under Persian rule. Its most brilliant period was around 353. BC. when it was the capital of the Satrap of Caria (In this century it was famous for its trade, sailing and boatbuilding.) Artemisia who was a warrior-woman played a significant role in the protection of the Asian Union and she achieved fame by adopting a
stance against Rhodes as the Admiral of the Carian
fleet in 480 BC.

The Mausoleum, as it probably did look

  The Mausoleum is Bodrums oldest antiquity and was built by Artemisia II in honour of her husband King Mausolos. It became one of the wonders of the ancient world, Mausoleum still is the general term for a large tomb. The entire structure stood at over 50 meters in height. The first reliefs from the Mausoleum
reached the British Museum in London in 1846, these included frescos and other objects.

Bodrums first remembered literary character was Cevat Sakir, known as the 'Halicarnassus Fisherman'
asked for the return of the Mausoleum parts to Bodrum in a letter adressed to the Queen of England,
saying that such exquisite works of art were not finding their true place under the foggy and grey sky of London.
The letter he received in response stated as following:
"Thank you for reminding us of the matter, We have painted the ceiling where the Mausoleum is located in blue."

Bodrum around 1800
The most prominent feature of Bodrum is the castle of St. Peter.
The castle's origins date back to the knights of St. John
This group of expatriates began in the 11th century with a church and hospital in Jerusalem. Although belonging to he Catholic religion care was denied to no-one.
When the knights arrived they instructed their builders to remove all usable materials from the tomb of King Mausolos as the castle construction began in the 1400's.

The knights refered to the town as Mesy not knowing that they where in the ancient Halicarnassus
The fortress became known as the Castle of St. Peter, the Liberator, it served as the sole place of refugee
for all Christians on the West Coast of Asia during the time of the crusades. For over a century the castle served as a stronghold in the knights community.
Under Turkish care the castle has undergone several uses including being a military base, a prison and a public bath.
But now it is
one of the finest museums in this region
see also video.


Amphi theatre

  The Amphi-theatre
The theatre is another witness to the great past of Bodrum. Situated in the hillside over looking Bodrum this theatre whose capacity is around 13.000 was built during te Carian reign in the Hellenistic age (330 - 30 BC.). The theatre consists of three different sections: a place for the audience, a place for an orchestra and the stage. It became an open-air museum after the excavations in 1973.


Bodrum Panorama BlickJazz Photographythis boat could be yours

The Myndos Gate - restored be Ericsson and Türkcell

Alexander the Great


The Myndos gate
Located on the west side of Bodrum, this is one of the two entrances of ancient Halicarnassus. It was part of the towns wall. The gate is named after the place Myndos because it faces the ancient Myndos place (now Gümüslük).

A big handshake should go first to the companies Ericsson and Turkcell, who sponsored the excavation of Bodrum's town walls, which are a remarkable example of ancient Western Anatolia architecture.

Only some parts of the city walls remained until today. An important part of the town wall was the Myndos Gate where the soldiers of Alexander (*the great*) had a hard time to come into the town of Halicarnassus in 333 BC. After they captured the city they destroyed all buildings except the Mausoleum, which was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.

Extensive excavation and restoration has been done by the archeologists to bring this spot from ancient times to be better realized now. It is expected that the whole restoration of the town wall of nearly 4,5 kilometers will take four to five years to complete.

According to Arrianus, who describes this gate and and the siege of Alexander the Great in 334, this gate had originally three towers (that's why it was described as 'Tripollion'). It was also mentioned that in front of the gate was a ditch of 8 meters depth and 15 meters long. The middle part of the gate is totally destroyed now but ruins from the two other parts still exist and consist of huge and heavy square stones.
Tombs were found here and opened by Newton in the last century. They dated back to Hellenistic and Roman times and were made from burned clay.

When Alexander the Great in the autumn of 334 BC came to Halicarnassus, he had his headquarters somewhere near here. His first attack was towards the Milas gate, which does not exist anymore, but he couldn't succeed. On the Halicarnassus side were fighting the Persian generals Oronbates and Memnon from Rhodos. After a couple of days he tried with the Myndos gate. But again there was much resistance. Then he built a wooden bridge over the 8 m. ditch, packed some of his Macedonian soldiers into wooden towers and carried them close to the gate, but the people of Halicarnassus came out and tried to burn those towers and started fighting, the bridge collapsed after a while and there was a big panic on both sides. Despite the fact that many of their own warriors outside were killed, the Halicarnassus allies Memnon and Oronbates closed the gate, went to the castle and from the harbour they sailed to Kos.
Alexander the Great conquered the town then and destroyed the whole place, only the mausoleum he didn't touch, and then he proceeded southwards to Phrygia.

Here - as nearly everywhere in Turkey Archaeologists expect to find more remains underneath the rubble of 17 centuries

© copyright 1998 - 2005 ~ all rights reserved Websolutions Bodrum