A Day in Bodrum

While we didn’t think much of Marmaris, things improved with our visit to Bodrum. Although it was just as popular with the tourists, the layout was more pedestrian-friendly and there were a number of interesting sights within the city.

Moving up the western coast of Turkey

We drove north from Marmaris, swinging around the Marmaris peninsula towards the Bodrum peninsula. The trip took two and a half hours of mostly highway driving. As with the other places in Turkey, driving within the city was a experience but we navigated the narrow side streets before finding the parking area of our hotel.

We didn’t use the car during our time in Bodrum, preferring to walk from our hotel in the east end to the downtown area. The pedestrian sections were busy but wide, and the shade from the canvas covers lessened the heat. There were many different cafes, restaurants and shops so it gave us lots to see and do.

Our hotel was in the circle to the right. It was a relatively easy walk towards the castle next to the marina through the pedestrian zone. The Mausoleum of Halicarnassus was a bit to the north so on that day we took a taxi from our hotel and walked back
It was only a 10 minute walk from our hotel to the main pedestrian area near the waterfront. The canvas covering helped us to escape the summer heat, along with ice cream and lemonade

In the afternoon we made our way to the Mausoluem at Halicarnassus, located in a quieter area near the centre of Bodrum. Because our hotel was in the far eastern side of the city we took a taxi to the Mausoleum and walked back to our hotel.

Model of the Mausoleum at the site

This Mausoleum was considered one of the seven wonders of the world by the ancients because of the beauty of its design and how it was decorated with sculpture and ornaments.Unfortunately there was little to see at the site now.

One of the seven ancient wonders of the world, it was the fifth site on the list we had visited after the Great Pyramid of Giza, Lighthouse of Alexandria, Temple of Artemis and Colossus of Rhodes. The poor condition of the site made it look much different than the original Mausoleum, and reminded us of our visit to the Temple of Artemis near Ephesus a few years ago. On the other hand, unlike the Colossus and Lighthouse sites, there was actually something to see!

Part of the lower level and drainage system of the Mausoleum
There were only a few other tourists on the day we visited

We spent one afternoon at Bodrum Castle, which is well maintained and worth a visit. It was about a 20 minute walk from our hotel, but most of the trip was in the pedestrian zone so it was easy and gave us plenty of opportunities to stop for a coffee or pastry along the way.

Built after 1402 by the Knights of St. John (we had seen their headquarters in Rhodes), the castle was competed by the end of the century only to quickly fall to the Ottoman Empire in 1523. It remained with the Ottomans for almost 400 years.

Bodrum Castle was on the site of a fortification that had existed since ancient times. It is also a possible site of the Palace of Mausolos, the same king who built the famous Mausoleum nearby. The knights used some of the ruined pieces from the Mausoleum to help build parts of the castle.

A sphinx found at the site dating from the 4th century BC

The museum was well organized and had quite a lot to see, from ancient statues to medieval weaponry. It also housed the Bodrum Museum of Underwater Archaeology, with some impressive exhibits of its own.

Some of the hundreds of jars and ingots found in nearby ancient shipwrecks
Ancient jugs found underwater

There were different towers for the different nationalities of the knights, and each had a different style. One was English, one German and one French.

Heading up to the tower

We spent a couple hours at the castle and could have spent more time there. It was well worth the entry fee.

On the day we went to check out the castle, we noticed a ticket booth just outside the main entrance. It was advertising tickets to ballet performances at very reasonable prices, so we purchased tickets for an outdoor evening performance of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.

The seats were directly below the castle
The seats were all close to the stage with excellent sight lines
End of the show

For less than $20 for the two of us we enjoyed a high quality show on a pleasant summer evening in the shadow of the medieval castle. It’s great to seek out these local events because you can often find performances that are the same quality as back home for a fraction of the price.

Nightlife in the pedestrian area. The dog knew where to find sympathetic humans

We had a great time in Bodrum, and didn’t get bored during out brief stay there. It had ancient and medieval sights to offer along with a lot of modern fun. After spending a few days there we prepared for a longer drive north towards our next stop: the ancient Greek city of Pergamon (Bergama).

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