The stories about Bodrum start with Bodrum Castle which is also known as the Castle of St. Peter. As you approach the town, it welcomes you with its magnificent silhouette rising over the blue Aegean waters.
As well as being the most famous and impressive building around, it also hides one of the most important and the biggest museum of its kind within its walls; Bodrum Museum of Underwater Archaeology. Practically visiting the castle and visiting the museum are the same things.
The actual town of Bodrum lies on two bays. Local elders call the western part as the Turkish neighbourhood and the eastern part as the Greek neighbourhood, in colloquial language referring to the relocation of Cretan population with Turkish origin to the east bay in 1923.
These two neighbourhoods are separated by a small peninsula which was once known as Zephyrion in the ancient world. This is where the Bodrum Castle has been watching the town for over 600 years.
The floor area of the Castle of St. Peter is almost 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.
Walls that Built to Last
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 at 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.
Inside the Bodrum Castle
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 a quiet place far from the crowded streets. They have soft drinks like coffee, tea, and fruit juices.
The castle is also home for a special museum: Museum of Underwater Archaeology. When I have more time to enjoy the castle, I enter the museum and sit on a rampart to read my book or just watch the amazing view towards Kos. There is another café at the inner court where you can also get soft drinks and snacks.
Inner court is an arboretum where peacocks and various birds wander around. If you are a flora fan, this is also a good place to check indigenous plants and trees from daphne to oleander as well as some specimens from the other parts of the Aegean.
On the other hand, multiple entrances to the museum can be costly. Therefore, I use Museum Pass issued by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. It is the best and cheapest way for multiple entrances and not only for the castle but for almost all historical sites and museums in Turkey. For more information on pricing and coverage, check the official internet site of Museum Pass which is provided both in Turkish and English.
You may not be a history fan. You may even hate it. You may prefer to spend your money on more entertaining alternatives. Whatever your reluctance is based on, do yourself a favour and visit the Bodrum Castle and The Museum of Underwater Archaeology.
Bodrum Maritime Museum
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