The name Bodrum has changed many times over the years. The city was initially called Halikarnassos by the satrap Mausollos. After his death - in 352 BC – he was buried in the mausoleum which is one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Halikarnassos eventually became Petronion, which then became Bodrum in Turkish. In the 1920s, Bodrum was so remote that it was used as a place of exile. Perhaps this is why the city attracted artists and bohemians and in the 1970s Bodrum developed into “Turkey’s St. Tropez” with a busy entertainment and night life. Numerous Turkish celebrities live in the holiday apartments in and around the city. The city centre is small and easy to negotiate and most things are within walking distance. The city’s main street runs parallel with the water and the sea is never far away in Bodrum. Even though Bodrum has developed into a jet-set favourite, it’s easy for the “ordinary” tourist to find the popular places in the city or the surrounding villages. In the shipyard, the traditional tirade and gulet boats are still built and these can be hired for short or long trips along the beautiful coastline.
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 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
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.)