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Wednesday, 10 March 2010



The monument of devotion and pain…Following the Persian rule, Halicarnassos witnesses the invasion of Alexander the Great.Alexander the Great and Macedonian soldiers enter the Caria lands and totally destruct anything in their way.

The people of Halicarnassos resist the Macedonian soldiers. The resistance grows bigger near the high and thick city walls and Myndos gate.The great soldier enters Caria through Myndos gate after months of resistance put up by the locals.They completely destruct and set fire to the city.Queen Ada, exiled to the city of Alinda by her brother Pixodoros, becomes an important player.Queen Ada presents Alinda city, where she ruled until that time, to Alexander the Great and asks him to accept her as his adopted mother.For emotional and political reasons, Alexander the Great appoints Queen Ada as the satrap of the region.Now, Queen Ada, successor to II. Artemisia becomes the new ruler of Halicarnassos.The Persians are pushed out of Western Anatolia and the entire region falls under the rule of Alexander the Great and his Macedonian soldiers.

Once the capital of the Caria lands, Halicarnassos loses its importance. As a result of wars which broke out following the death of Alexander the Great, the Egyptian Empire takes control of the Caria lands.

Experts in ship building, the people of Halicarnassos pay their taxes to the Egyptians by building ships for them.

The antique theatre, excavated and restored by Prof. Dr. Umit Serdaroglu, is dated to 4th Century BC and belongs to Mauselos era.

The Stone architecture is the earliest example of classical Greek theatres in Anatolia.

Having a 12-13.000 seating capacity, the structure consists of three main sections.

The stage building, the stage and the seating area.

Halicarnassos falls under complete Roman rule in 129 BC. Later, the city is ransacked and robbed by the Roman pirate Verses. Halicarnassos goes through a dark and poverty stricken period.

Peace and wealth is restored once again under the Roman Emperor Augustus. The Grand life style of Augustus and his wife Livia is reflected upon the society in Halicarnassos. Monuments built in those days can still be seen in Bodrum. Livia Duricilla has contributed enormously to the development of aesthetic values in Romans.

The visit by Roman writer Vitrivius and his subsequent writings about Halicarnassos in his books has enabled very valuable information to reach to us through history. Sir Charles Newton, who discovered the exact spot of Mausoleon, has taken parts of the mosaics of a Roman villa nearby as well as parts of the Mausoleon to the British Museum.

Eastern Romans, in other words the Byzantium Empire took control of Caria lands.

Ottoman Sultan Yildirim Beyazid annexed Bodrum to his lands between 1394-1392.

The soldiers of Jesus, the protectors of sacred relics held in Jerusalem, the Knights of St. John, about whom the pope prophesized that they have earned the right to go to heaven with every drop of their sweat.

Devoted to Roman Catholic Church, the Knights have established a state which controlled 12 islands and was ruled from the island of Rhodes but has been considered to be a pirate organisation throughout history.

Halicarnassos, today’s Bodrum Castle was built by the Knights of Rhodes at the time of Sultan Mehmet I.

The castle was built in the name of Saint Petrus and named Petrenium. In time, Petrenium turned into Petrum.

Today, the castle, the Bodrum castle is known as Bodrum in Halicarnassos.

The area chosen by the Knights for the castle is on a rocky formation, separated from the mainland by a narrow channel in the past, which is where Halicarnassos had first been established. It is known that the marble and stone remains of Mausoleon, one of the seven wonders of the antiquity, which was probably completely demolished by an earthquake in 14th century, had been used in restoring the Turkish castle over the Dorian remains.

The castle was built by the German architect Heinrich Schlegelhot between 1415-1437. In time, some changes were made to the castle in parallel with the development of ballistic warfare. The building of Italian tower was started in 1436 and the mote in 1476. The British tower was completed in 1480. The largest change in the castle was made between 1476-1508 under the command of the commander of the castle Pier d’Abussen.

In the 16th century, the famous Ottoman admiral and map maker mentioned Bodrum as ‘Bodurum’ in his book. In the same century, Suleiman the Magnificent re took the castle under Turkish rule and the castle has been under Turkish control ever since.

It is understood that houses were built inside the castle, which was once used as a defence against powerful navies, between 17th and 19th centuries.

The castle was used as a prison after 19th century.

Bodrum was back in the agenda in WW I.

The French ship Duplex bombarded the city on 26 May 1915 following claims that fuel was supplied to German ships. The castle suffered serious destruction. The prisoners were released following the bombardment.

In 1794, English Lord Charlemonte and his team visited Bodrum. The Lord describes the castle in details. In his writings, he mentions of tens of coat of arms belonging to the Knights of Rhodes. He especially mentions about the magnificent reliefs depicting the Greek-Amazonian wars. He proposes that these reliefs belong to a temple and that it could be the Mausoleon.

Charles Alison came to Bodrum upon special request by the British ambassador Lord Stratford Canning. His mission was to make a log of all the valuable reliefs and artworks found in the castle prepare a report for Canning.

Having read Alison’s report, the British ambassador Lord Stratford Canning asks for permission from Sultan Abdulmejid to take the artworks in the castle to England.

Abdulmejid issued a firman permitting the works to be taken to England. As a gesture, he contributed to the expenses of removal. Subsequently, the reliefs were loaded into a British warship and taken to England. 13 of the reliefs were put into a special room in the British Museum for exhibition.

Another archaeologist, Englishmen Sir Newton visited Halicarnassos in 1856. In fact, he was an official from the British Museum. He specialised in Greek and Roman history. Appointed by the English authorities, Sir Newton’s mission in Halicarnassos was to draw up a report on antique works, including Mausoleon, and take them to England. As a result of his researches, some artefacts, including parts from the Mausoleon, were taken to England.

Long after those years, which resulted in senseless loss of many of our cultural heritage, Cevat Sakir ‘ The Fisherman of Halicarnassos’ reproaching the state of affairs and protective of his cultural values, wrote the following in a letter he sent to British Authorities..

‘The artefacts in London are part of the Bodrum blue; they should not be kept in London. It is necessary to unite them with the blue they belong’

After it was read by the Queen, the letter was passed to the British Museum authorities. A reply was sent after a few months. And as if ridiculing the request, the letter said ‘We have considered your proposal very seriously. We had the scientists examine the Stones and in fact it is correct that they seem to compare with blue. As such, we painted the room they are exhibited in Bodrum blue. We thank you for your kind interest’

In today’s world in Bodrum castle, home to one of the world’s best, Bodrum Underwater Archaeology Museum, it is possible to see the coats of arms belonging to the Knights of Rhodes, Latin graffiti carved on rocks and wonderful friezes depicting the Saints. Established in 1962, the underwater archaeology museum attracts thousands of visitors each year to its rich findings. Marble, glass and clay works, findings belonging to antique marine activities cast a light on history.

The tomb and the skeleton of Queen Ada, the god mother of Alexander the Great made the Museum a focal point fort he world. Brought alive by face construction technology in all her might, her room and jewellery are the most important sections of the Museum.

Halicarnassos and its environs have witnessed the most important names and settlements in West Anatolian History at the time of the great Carian era. Today, Bodrum, these fertile lands live in the bosom of a hundreds of years old past, it is as if the past blossom through olive trees.

Surrounded by residential areas, the old Ottoman structures, windmills circa 18th century, Stone cisterns, virgin bays are part of the daily life in Bodrum.

Situated at the crossing point of the Mediterranean and the Aegean, the Bodrum Peninsula glitters from sunset through to sunshine with traditional Gullet making activities, leather works, glass and ceramics workshops, carpet and rug making looms.

The might of the past is brought alive by arts and cultural activities.

Foreign and local artists are an inseparable part of Bodrum.

These graceful lands once walked over by Alexander the Great, embrace the humanity, from Turgutreis, the ruler of the Mediterranean, to the Fisherman of Halicarnassos, a Bodrum lover and exile with the wild winds, the sea and the sun.

Today, Bodrum is the Mecca of entertainment and sea tourism with unmatched bays and inlets such as Bitez, Gumusluk, Bardakci, Aspat, Torba, Adaboğazı, Yalikavak, Gundogan, Guvercinlik bays.

The city has always been in the public agenda through out the thousands of years since Halicarnassos to Bodrum. It has been remembered with its natural beauties, typical local architecture shining through the Begonvilles, long and narrow stretches of streets, and the myths waiting to be discovered. The Aegean Sea, witness to many wars since the antiquity has been turned into the sea of peace and love, over which now glide the world famous gullet ships.

The Carian sun has never set on these lands over which many civilisations such as the pirates of the antique world, the mighty Persian empire, the great Macedonian warriors, who wanted to rule the world, and hundreds of years of Turkish rule.

The souls of those who lived in Halicarnassos couldn’t leave this enchanted city.

Herodotus is with us everyday. He is continuing to write history as if he embroiders it with his pen.

Paniasis the poet is still singing peace songs persistently between Kos and Halicarnassos.

Artemisia is trying to protect her people and lands against all evil like a compassionate of a mother would.

Hippocrates is healing those unfortunate souls

But Mauselos is lamenting the destruction of his resting place, the looted and exiled Mausoleon. His wife Artemisia cries secretly everyday and she wants her husband’s tomb back. The sparkle in her eye, challenging time, waits until that day.

The Fisherman of Halicarnassos is nodding from the tower yonder in the castle.


One day...

Without fail, one day...

Bodrum today peacefully gleams with the everlasting grace under the Carian sun.


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