Homer’s description of Bodrum as "The land of eternal blue" and the words of another resident of Bodrum, Cevat Şakir, who said "The heavenly bliss of life in Bodrum is better than any eternal bliss that may await us" were not without foundation in reality. Throughout history Bodrum, known as Halicarnassos in ancient times, has always been fought over and people have been unwilling to share its beauty with others.
Built on a peninsula formed by the meeting of the eastern and western harbors, Bodrum, with its narrow streets winding down to the sea, is famous for its castle, its world-renowned yachts, its shipyards and the dazzling white houses and tombs lining the shores of its two harbors.
Bodrum has all the facilities to meet the expectations of tourists from all income levels ranging from the rich yacht owners to the penny counting tourists who just want a reasonable room to make his vacation last all summer.
History Bodrum Turkey
Bodrum has been the cradle of several civilizations. Down through the ages it has suffered from the countless invasions of those coming from the Aegean islands and has been important to all those powers wishing to dominate the Aegean.Halicarnassos(Bodrum) was an important city in the Caria civilization which was located between its much more powerful neighbors Lykia and Ionia. The region boasts such greats as the historian Heredotus, history’s first woman admiral Artemisia I, and the just-as-skilled Artemisia II as well as artists like Leachares and Shepas.
Bodrum experienced the dominance of various civilizations throughout the history such as Persians,Mecedonians,Roman Empire and Byzantines. Byzantines lost their power in Anatolian region after they were defeated by the Seljuk Ruler Alpaslan at Malazgirt in 1071. Rhodian knights had constructed the present Bodrum castle and established theirrule over the region. Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent on his military expedition to Rhodes conquered Bodrum together with Rhodes and added them to the territory of Ottoman Empire.
Summers are hot and dry while winters are mild and rainy.
Where to Visit
MUSEUMS Bodrum Turkey
The Underwater Archeological Museum of Bodrum: It is one of the most important and biggest museums of its kind in the world. The relics recovered from excavation which started in the 1960’s are on display in this museum located in the Bodrum Castle.The Eastern Mediterranean amphora collection as well as findings resulting from research on sunken ships in the immediate vicinity are on display. The significant of this sunken ships are those at Yassıada, Şeytan Brook and Serçe Harbour. The remains of the oldest known sunken ship in the world are also here and well-worth seeing.
Open hours to visit: 10:00-12:00, 14:00-18:00
Open days to visit: Everyday except Monday.
Maussolleion Open Air Museum: It gets its name from the fact that the tomb of Mausolos, the King of Caria, is located here. His wife, also his sister, had the most famous architects of the day design the structure. It was almost completely destroyed in the Great Anatolian earthquake. There is a small museum here at the site of this tomb which was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. The word "maussolleion" is taken from King Mausolos’ name. Many of the stones of this Mausoleum were used in the construction of Bodrum Castle. The beautiful reliefs on the grave, however, were taken to the British Museum during the excavations in the 19th century.
Ancient Theater: The theater is located on the Bodrum - Turgutreis road. It has an audience capacity of 13,000 seats. The stage area has been uncovered and the seats have been restored.
Rock Tombs: Above the theater on the slope are rock tombs that belong to the Hellenistic and Roman periods.
Myndos Door: Located west of the city, it is one of the entrances to the city of Halicarnassos. The Myndos Door consisted of two monumental towers and an inner courtyard at the gate that lead to the city.
Çıfıt Castle (Aspat): Built on a rocky outcrop in the southwestern portion of the peninsula close to Bağla cove, it contains artefacts from several civilizations.
Stratonikeia: Located on the Yatağan - Milas highway, the ruins in the village of Eskihisar contains a very rich collection of artefacts from the Caria, Roman and Byzantine eras.
Lagina: The temple of Hecate can be reached by following the dirt road (9 km) leading to Turgut. Excavations have shown that this city, once an important center of the Caria Civilization, has been inhabited since the Early Bronze Age.
Cedrai Island: One of the most eminent ruins of the region with its rich history and natural beauty, Sedir Island can be reached by boat either from Gökova - Akyaka or Çamlıköy. The ruins which one would want to see first are the Temple of Apollo, the theater,and the ancient harbor. The famous Cleopatra beach is here as well.
Cisterns: Cisterns built by the Ottomans and known as "Gümbet" can be seen all over the peninsula. They were built by the wealthy citizens who named the cisterns after themselves.
Bodrum Castle (Saint Petrum) Built by the Knights of Rhodes in the 15th century and dedicated to St. Peter, the construction of the castle was completed in 99 years. It was built on Zephyrion island, the original site of the city of Halicarnassos.Stones and reliefs from the Mausoleum of King Mausolos were used in its construction. There are 5 towers in this castle; French, English, Italian, German and Snake towers. The castle covers approximately 30,000 sq. meters.
Mustafa Paşa Mosque: Upon his arrival to Bodrum to construct a dockyard, Mustafa Paşa from Kızılhisar,made this mosque built. (1723).
Tepecik Mosque: It was constructed by Hamam Ağa, the steward of Mustafa Pasha.
Adliye Mosque: It was built in 1901 through the means of the monatery fund provided by the amount gathered among the public and given by Abdulhamit II.
Şaldırşah Horasani Tomb, Kubbeli Tomb, Mustafa Pasha Tomb including the grave of Kaptan-ı Derya Cafer Pasha and Koyunbaba Tomb are worth to see.
Güvercinlik Bodrum: A cove of unusual beauty with every conceivable tone green and blue, it is located 25 km from Bodrum. Salih Island, located right across the water, only serves to enhance the natural appeal of this beautiful cove.
Torba Bodrum: A peaceful little village just 5 km from Bodrum is a charming and lively place where the shining sea melds with the green pines and olive trees. There are boats going to Didim, Milet and Priene from here.
Gölköy Bodrum: Located 13 km north of Bodrum, this beautiful cove blends the green of olive, tangerine and pine trees with that of palms. Because it faces the north, it is always lush and the water in the cove is cooler than that in the other coves.
Türkbükü Bodrum: Situated beside Gölköy, at a distanceof 15 km from Bodrum, it resembles Gölköy in almost every way. It is one of the places preferred by people looking for peace and quiet.
Gündoğan Bodrum: Located 18 km from Bodrum, Gündoğan cove is one of the coves that has been least changed by man and which still preserves its beauty in the most natural way. Its tangerine orchards are famous.
Yalıkavak Bodrum: This village is 18 km from Bodrum in the northwestern part of the peninsula. It is famous for its windmills, fish, citrus orchards and sea. The most famous sponge divers have come from this village.
Gümüşlük Bodrum: It is one of the oldest settlements on the peninsula. It is still possible to see the underwater remains of the old harbor wall which connected Tavşan Island to the mainland. The sea and fish here are famous. Watching the sun set here amidst the lush green vegetation will be a life-long memory.
Kadıkalesi Bodrum: The sandy beaches of this crystal clear sea are surrounded with citrus orchards. Situated 23 km from Bodrum, it gets its name from the remains of a nearby castle belonging to the Hellenistic era.
Turgutreis Bodrum: Situated 20 km from Bodrum, the town is famous for its tangerine orchards. It was named after the famous Turkish admiral, Turgut Reis. In terms of population, it is one of the most populous areas of the peninsula. It is known for its unforgettable sunsets.
Akyarlar Bodrum: This cove with its wonderful beach and crystal clear waters is 13 km from Bodrum. It is one of the best places to surf.
Karaincir Bodrum: Situated 16 km out of Bodrum, its 500 m. beach is one of the best in the area.
Bağla Bodrum: With one of the best coves and beaches on the peninsula, it is an excellent place to camp and is 14 km from Bodrum.
Aspat Bodrum: Rising out of the shores of the Aegean and mentioned often in Turkish folk music, the real name of Aspat is Aspartos. Built on a barren rock, the perimeter of Aspat Castle measures 700 paces. The remains of several civilizations dating back to the Classical Age can be seen here.
Ortakent Bodrum: Located 14 km from Bodrum, its waters are warm and it has sandy beaches. Its tangerine orchards are quite famous. It is one of the best vantage points from which to view village life in Bodrum.
Bitez Bodrum: One of the most beautiful coves on the peninsula, it is 10 km from Bodrum. It has sandy beaches. It is a beautiful quiet corner where blue and green reach out to touch each other in the tangerine orchards which stretch from the village to the sea.
Gümbet Bodrum: About 3 km west of Bodrum, its waters are very shallow. Bardakçı is at a distance of 500 m. from Bodrum. Most people go there by boat. It is known for its beach and the water, which is as clear as glass, as well as the fresh water spring there.
Bardakçı Bodrum: It is 500 m. from Bodrum.One can reach to Bardakçı by sea easily.Its crystal clear sea is well-known for its springs.
Karaada: Situated 6 km from Bodrum, it is famous for its healing mineral springs. The water comes out of a cave and the mud from the cave is said to be good for skin conditions.
Ada Boğazı (Aquarium) Bodrum: It is called as Aquarium because of its crystal-clear waters. IIn the open waters, the seafloor to 30 m depth can be seen with the naked eye.
TRADITIONAL BODRUM HOUSES
The common features of the traditional architecture used in Bodrum are windowless first floors and doors on the second storey with access by way of ladders that can be drawn up into the house. These houses, which are now protected by the government, are located mostly in the villages of Ortakent and Kocakaya above Gümüşlük. Individuals,such as artists and writers who have settled in Bodrum have done a great service to the area by restoring older houses and this has made it an even more interesting place to visit.
YACHTING BODRUM Turkey
With everything from manufacturing and maintenance to repair and operation, the yachting center of Turkey is Bodrum. The tradition of building schooners continues in the İçmeler Shipyard, whose name has become almost synonymous with Bodrum itself. As big as many modern shipyards, luxury sailboats up to 30 meters can be built here using the latest available technology.
The marina has a capacity of 275-yachts. The marina also has 12 slips for the maintenance and repair of yachts as well as wintering.
The yacht races in Bodrum are probably the only ones in the world that completely inexperienced people can participate in, even children have participated. The Bodrum Cup is the most comfortable competition for 15-30 m. luxury yachts in the world.
THE BLUE VOYAGE
Stretching from Bodrum to the south-east, Gökova Bay has been named after Halikarnas Balıkçısı and Azra Erhat as ‘the Blue Voyage” when they first discovered it. Boats which pull up anchor in Bodrum and head for Gökova will soon discover the ultimate harmony of green and blue and the beauties which lie under the crystal clear waters. A center for manufacturing boats for centuries, the demand of sea-faring visitors has made yacht tourism one of the principal sources of income in Bodrum. Among the first places seen on "The Blue Journey" are Karaada, Kargacık Bükü, Pabuç Burnu, Kargı Adası, Alakışla and Çökertme. Other important stops on "The Blue Journey" are the forested and crystal clear coves of KüçükÇatı, Büyük Çatı, Yedi Adalar, Longöz, Değirmen Bükü, and Karacasöğüt. Besides the natural beauty, historic sites such as Sedir Island, the ancient city of Keramos and Yedi Adalar are frequent stopping places. Allow 7-10 days for this journey, which is open to anyone who wants to join one of the groups.
On the Aegean coast, Bodrum is famous for its colourful life. Besides the vitality and colourfulness of the city in the daytime, Bodrum is also renowned for its exceptionally appealing nightlife From İskele Square to the end of Kumbahçe District, Cumhuriyet Street is lined with bars, pubs, discos and taverns that guarantee fun and good times for people of all ages. In the mysterious darkness of the Bodrum nights, the magical shimmer that surrounds Bodrum castle adds a certain charm to the atmosphere. The heartbeat of the city’s nightlife is in the bars of Bodrum where every kind of music, from jazz to tavern music, can be heard.
What to Eat
Local specialties include Köpoğlu hors d’oeuvre made from yogurt, stuffed pumpkin flowers, bergamot jelly and sage oil.
What to Buy
Handicrafts in Bodrum are very developed. The beads, leather clothes, cloth, silver jewelry, embroidery, decorations and many other items made in Bodrum are sold on the broad street between İskele Square and Halikarnas Disco.Bodrum has bazaars open six days a week where everything, from needle to thread, from fruit to snacks, can be bought. These bazaars also sell scarves and curtains made of 100% hand-made Milas cloth and hand-painted batik clothing and other decorative items.
Don’t Leave Without
Seeing the Underwater Museum and Bodrum Castle,
Going to the Tuesday Bazaar,
Joining one of the daily tours,
Stopping by Bodrum Bars,
Dining on the excellent fish restaurants in Gümüşlük,
Eating Bodrum style ’waterpastry’,
Eating the spicy ’Ot kavurması’ and stuffed pumpkin flowers,
Purchasing the Bodrum beads and batik cloth.
Gumbet is a holiday resort created to provide the usual facilities expected from a beach holiday. Unlike nearby Bodrum, Gumbet has a long beach curving around a bay and the space for the hotels and apartments required to accommodate the package holiday industry.
The center of Gumbet comes alive at night with several kilometers of rope lights in every conceivable color stretched around the outlines of almost every building, restaurant and disco bar. Flashing neon lights complete the picture in a final attempt to lure the passing tourists.
Disco bars thrash out this years and yesteryears sounds, mingling together in a cacophony of sounds in the narrow streets, while restaurants tempt the unwary with promises of Chinese, Indian, Italian, Mexican, Japanese, Thai and even Turkish food, all from the same kitchen.
As the sun comes up it’s time for a traditional breakfast bowl of soup to help soak up the excesses of the night, a couple of hours sleep, an afternoon posing on the beach and another night on the town.