Haluk Elbe Art Gallery is an old small warehouse where art meets history. As the oldest art gallery of Bodrum, it is one of the buildings that forms Bodrum Castle. Owned and run by The Ministry of Culture and Tourism, it is located just before the entrance of Museum of Underwater Archaeology.
The traffic generated by the travellers visiting the castle and the museum probably makes it the best known art gallery in the peninsula. If you are heading to the castle, it is not easy to miss it (see Bodrum Castle Plan).
When you wander around the town centre, and see that there is an exhibition going on, spending ten minutes in the gallery would probably be a good use of your time. I believe it is an opportunity for supporting the hard work of various local and international artists and following the footsteps of the culture hidden in various forms of art. You could even meet the artists and learn about their work from themselves. I have always enjoyed these kind of conversations.
Haluk Elbe Art Gallery is an old, one store stone building. Its story is a part of the history of Bodrum Castle and dates back to 1513 when The Knights Hospitaller was in charge of the castle.
Just like today, new and improved technologies were also shaping the environment back on those days. The new challenges for the Knights of St. John were increasing power of cannons and new ship building techniques. They didn’t want to take any risk to lose their castle as they did in Smyrna. They had to do something.
Reinforcing castle walls was the first step. After making sure the south walls were strong enough to greet cannon balls fired by enemy fleet, it was time to increase fire power of the castle by bringing more heavy weapons.
New war equipment required more storage area because unpredictable weather of Aegean winters were causing considerably high damage to the inventory. Soon, they finished constructing of a new building and used it as a cannon shelter; the building where Haluk Elbe Art Gallery housed today.
Years passed on and the castle survived. In 1950’s an international attention rose against this unknown fishing town of the Aegean coasts of Turkey. Archaeologists from all over the world were talking about the new findings coming from the depths of the blue waters. Turkey was about to have one of the few museums of its kind: Museum of Underwater Archaeology.
After discovering so many artefacts and archaeological fragments in the vicinity, a retired teacher, Haluk Elbe, was appointed to establish a museum at Bodrum Castle. It was a difficult task to open a museum at a remote and unknown Aegean town in a country where museology was quite new and unknown to many.
Haluk Elbe worked hard to make it possible and did it! His hard work and remarkable efforts paid off and the museum opened in 1964 and was assigned as the curator by the Ankara government.
In 1980, the small stone building which was used for storing the large weapons like cannons on the west side of the castle has been turned into an art gallery. As a tribute to the founder of the museum, the new galley called as Haluk Elbe Art Gallery.