The stories about Bodrum start with Bodrum Castle which is also known as Castle of St. Peter. As you approach to the town, it welcomes you with its magnificent silhouette rising over the blue Aegean waters.
As the most famous and impressive building around, it also hides one of the most important and biggest museums of its kind in its walls; Bodrum Museum of Underwater Archaeology. Practically visiting the castle and vising the museum are the same things.
The town lies on two bays. Local elders call the western part as Turkish neighbourhood and the eastern part as the Greek neighbourhood in colloquial language referring to relocation of Cretan population with Turkish origin to the east bay in 1923.
These two neighbourhoods are separated by a small peninsula which once known as Zephyrion in the ancient world. This is where Bodrum Castle has been watching the town for over 600 years.
The floor area of the Castle of St. Peter is nearly a square. It measures 185 by 180 metres. Five towers garnish this medieval scene; The French Tower is the highest one with 47.50 meters height. The English Tower, The Italian Tower, The German Tower and The Tower of Snakes are the others which are also open to visitors.
The Knights Hospitaller of the Rhodes had decided to construct a castle on the mainland. The most suitable location was Zephyrion peninsula, just across the Kos Island. The construction started in 1415, so did the History of Bodrum Castle.
I remember how sorry I was when I learnt that the stones and archaeological fragments of one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, The Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, had been used to construct the castle. German architect Heinrich Schlegelholt had treated The Mausoleum as a quarry. Thus Bodrum Castle had been rising while one of the most magnificent buildings in the history had been collapsing.
Double fortification walls surround the west, south and north which tells us that they were expecting more serious attacks from the land. They were counting on their powerful fleet to handle all possible threats from the sea so they left fortifications on the east weaker.
The castle is my favourite place for relaxation and reading. Sometimes, I just take a break at the café just before the museum entrance. It is usually quiet place far from the crowds of the streets. They have coffee, tea, fruit juices and most importantly – you know - cold beer.
When I want more, I enter the museum and sit on a rampart to read my book or watch amazing landscapes toward Kos Island. There is another café at the inner court where you can get soft drinks and some snacks. I can spend hours in the castle and still enjoy it every single day.
Peacocks and various birds wanders around the inner court. It is also a small arboretum where you can see a lot of indigenous plants and trees from daphne to oleander.
If you are not a Turkish citizen, multiple entrances for reading or wandering around can cost you. I have a prepaid museum card which is issued by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and it grants me an infinite number of yearly pass to any museum run by the government.
Of course, I didn’t forget you and asked the officers to learn if non-Turkish citizens can buy a card too. The answer was negative, I am sorry.
Do you want to learn more about the museum entrances? Click on Bodrum Museum of Underwater Archaeology.
You may not a history fan, you may even hate it. You may prefer to spend your money to more entertaining alternatives. Whatever your reluctance is based on, do yourself a favour and visit Bodrum Castle and The Museum of Underwater Archaeology.
§ Bodrum Castle (this is where you are)