Bodrum, the native homeland of the famous historian Herodotus, is one of Turkeys most important tourism centers, which attracts attention by virtue of its natural beauty.
We know that the native inhabitants, namely the Lelegians and the Carians, lived in the hills above the Bodrum Peninsula. In fact, although there are very few remnants extant, it has been determined that a number of Lelegian cities such as Termera, Pedesa, Thangela, Syengela, Myndos and Telmissus existed above the peninsula. In the Iliad, Homer tells us that the Lelegians, who were under the command of Altes, as well as the Carians, under the command of Nartes fought on the side of the Trojans during the Trojan Wars of ca. 1200 B.C.
Around 1000. B.C., those who came here in the Dorian migrations settled in the vicinity where the fortress stands today, whereas when the local inhabitants came down to the coast, they established the city of Halicarnassos, the remains of which are buried under todays Bodrum. Halicarnassos was captured by the Lydians in the first half of the 6th century B.C., and the Persians took it by force in 546 B.C. Subsequently, this region was joined with the suzerainty of Sardis. In 494 B.C. the people of Halicarnassos joined in the uprising against Persian rule, which was started by the W. Anatolian cities. Herodotus (B.C. 490425) tells us that in 480 B.C., King Lygdamis daughter Artemisia I ruled Halicarnassos and that this queen joined with the Persians in the Salamis sea battles, scoring some major successes. Isindal ascended as the ruler of Halicarnassos after this heroic queen, whereas Lygdamis II succeeded Isindal upon his death. The great historian Herodotus along with the uncle of this king. poet Panyesis, started a freedom movement but was banished from the land. Herodotus continued to wander around the known world later to return to Halicarnassos in 454 B.C. Although Lygdamis II had been overthrown, Herodotus hit the road once more in order to finish the book on history he had started writing.
Caria broke away from Sardis in 412 B.C. to become its own suzerainty with Hyssaldaomus from Mylasa appointed as its satrap. When he died in 387 B.C., his son Hecatomnos ascended to the throne, whereas he was succeeded to the throne by his eldest son, Mausolos in 377 B.C. Mausolos ruled over W. Anatolia and made a number of cities prosperous in the Carian region, but most importantly was the fact that he moved the capital of Caria from Milas to Halicarnassos in 367 B.C. In order for this city to expand, he brought the inhabitants of six of the eight Lelegian cities here, and by encircling the city with walls, he had it adorned with palaces, a theater and temples. Mausolos died in 353 B.C. after ruling for 24 years, whereby he was succeeded by his wife and sister, Artemisia II. First she conquered a rebellious Rhodes and convinced the Rhodians to accept her as ruler, then later she continued with the construction of her husbands monumental tomb that he began in 355, but died in 351, before its completion in 340. Construction had actually stopped for some time as there was no money left in the Treasury, but the artists worked without pay for the sake of monument tomb artistry and were able to finish it by raising sufficient funds. The tomb, known as the Mausoleum, was destined to become one of the Seven Wonders of the World. According to information recorded by Roman historian Pliny, the tomb consisted of four sections; there was a high base at the lowest level, a gallery of 36 columns upon it, and a roof of 24 steps upon which the statues of Mausolos and his wife were placed. The architect of this 50 m. high mausoleum was Pytheos, and the relief engravings were chiseled by famous sculptors such as Scopas (E side). Leochares (W side), Bryfl (N side) and Timotheos (S side). Unfortunately. this huge tomb had remained standing only until the 14th century, when an earthquake knocked it don. However, the most significant harm was caused by the Knights of Rhodes in the year 1402. when they erected the wails of the castle we see today by plundering the ashlar blocks from the memorial tomb. In 1846, the Ottoman Sultan Abdulmecit passed a decree that permitted the British Ambassador Lord Stratford Canning to ship the friezes of Mausoios that he had seen in the Bodrum Castle to the British Museum. Newton, who was directing excavation work at the time, shipped off the remaining frieze fragments as well as the statues of both Mausolos and his wife Artemisia which were originally on the top of the Mausoleum, to the British Museum in 1857. Today, what remains of this memorials foundation. measuring 32 x 38 m. can be seen In a field measuring 242.5 x 105 m. next to the road to Gümbet.
When Queen Artemlsia died in 351 B.C.. Idileus ascended to the throne whereby
he was succeeded by Ada in 344. However, she was deposed by her younger brother
Pixodaros, who exiled Ada to Allnda. When Alexander entered Anatoila in 334. he
found Ada in Alinda, whereby she proclaimed him to be her adopted son and In
return, he reinstated her to the
After Alexanders death, the region was ruled by Lysimachos in 301 and then later on by the Ptolemic dynasty. In 189 B.C., Halicarnassos was forced to become a subject of Rhodes, then over to the Pergamon Kingdom in 167 B.C. The city came under Roman rule after 133 B.C. While the Roman states were being reorganized in the 4th century A.D., Caria constituted a separate state, whereas Halicarnassos became the Archbishopric under the administration of the Aphrodisias Metropolitan.
After the Turks entered Anatolia in 1071, they ater began establishing provinces in the regions they had settled. As a matter of fact, the Turks under command of Mentese Bey took over this region and the established the Mentese Province in 1274. This area was put under Ottoman rule once and for all during the reign of Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent
As we mentioned at the beginning of this chapter, not much remains to this day of Halicarnassos as it is buried under the modern town of Bodrum. The theater on the hill belongs to the Mausolos period. Excavation and restoration work of the theater has been carried out, whereby 30 rows of seating in the lower section were brought to light. On the S slope of the theater, the upper section of which is heavily damaged, you can encounter rock tombs belonging to the Hellenistic and Roman Periods. Ancient sources reveal that 1) the Temple of Mars and the stoa of Apollo are under the road in front of the theater. 2) the Temples of Hermes and Aphrodite were situated on both sides of Kaplankale, across from the castle and 3) there was the palace of King Mausolos where the mosque is located, in the square in front of the castle. Today, the Myndos Gate, which was a portion of the wall that once surrounded the city, can be seen on the road to Gumbet The castle, which has become the symbol of modern day Bodrum, was built by the Knights of Rhodes in the year 1402. It measures 180 x 185 m. and its first battlements were erected by German architect Heinrich Schlegolholt. Later on, the castle was reinforced with the Italian, French, English, German Towers as well as the Snake Tower. There are a total of 249 coat-of-arms found throughout the castle walls. The Turks captured it in 1 523, whereas today, it serves as the Bodrum Museum of Underwater Archaeology. In the adjacent garden, you are bound to encounter numerous peacocks which seemingly stand guard over the treasures, not terribly unlike their Beefeater counterparts at the Tower in London.
There are not many Turkish edifices in Bodrum. The famous Bodrum boats or gulet as they are known in Turkish were constructed during the Ottoman Period in a shipyard just beyond the yacht marina. Today, the manufacture of these fine wooden vessels continues in this area. There is the tomb of Kaptan-i Derya Kizilhisarli Mustafa Pasha and his son Cafer Pasha situated where this shipyard is located. There is also the mosque in the quay square that was built by Mustafa Pasha in 1720. The Pashas steward also had the Tepecik Mosque built. Erected in 1769, the Haci Molla Inn survives to this day. but not in its original fashion.
It is a great pleasure just to wander around the Bodrum Peninsula and its wonderful bays such as Bardakçi, Gümbet, Bitez, Turgut Reis, Ortakent, Kargi, Adabogazi, Aspat Kalesi, Kadikalesi and Gümüslük, where the Myndos ruins are found. You can partake in a daily excursion boat tour to these bays and Karaada, or even if you wish, you can also rent a car to cruise around these bays, as well.
Bodrum is one of the traditional points of embarkment for Blue Voyagers whereas its many bars, cafes, clubs and restaurants offer countless opportunities for fun until the crack of dawn.
There are several sites of ruins around the Bodrum Peninsula. For example, you may visit the ancient city of Heracleia, which was established on top of a hill overlooking Bafa Gölü. There you will see the Temple of Athena, which was erected during the Hellenistic Age. Also, 12 km. outside of Milas, on the side of the road, you will encounter the Temple of Euromos Zeus with its 6 x 11 colonnade. It was erected during the Roman Age. Also, the Labranda Ruins, which are 13 km. outside Milas, are quite impressive as well. In addition, Iasos, which is situated in the village of Kiyikislacik is worth a visit.