BODRUM HISTORICAL PLACES
Although famous for its sea, sand and sun trio, Bodrum is one of the richest destinations of our country in terms of historical places. Most of the tourists who flock to the district, especially in the summer, leave without exploring the historical places of this beautiful the peninsula, which is a shame.
Bodrum is so rich in terms of historical places, you come across many ancient ruins even as you walk the side streets in the centre of the town. Many places in this town are in the status of historical protection sites and the Halicarnassus Mausoleum, which is one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, is in Bodrum.
Herodotus, who is known as the father of history, was also born in Bodrum, whose ancient name was Halicarnassos. Later, after he was exiled by Lygdamis, he spent his youth travelling to many different spots of the world.
But thanks to Herodotus, detailed information about the history of the town has reached today. According to Herodotus, the first settlement on the peninsula was established by the Dorians, and then the Carians and Lelegs settled in the region. Considering that Herodotus was born in 484 BC, it should not be difficult to understand how old the history of the town is.
When you come to Bodrum, which has been inhabited since ancient times, we say don’t leave without visiting the historical places of this peninsula.
Of course, Bodrum Castle is at the top of the list of historical places in Bodrum. Built in 1402 by the Knights of St. Jean, the castle was named the Castle of St. Peter then.
The castle contains The German Tower, French Tower, Italian Tower, English Tower and The Serpent Tower. There’s also a dungeon section which is worth seeing. We must add that Bodrum Castle covers a wide area and there are many steps within, so it is worth sparing a day to visit.
One of the most exciting places of the castle is the Carian Princess Hall, where the bones, clothes and jewellery of the Carian princess Ada are exhibited. The remains of the Carian princess Ada, the youngest sister of King Mausolus, came to light in the 1990’s when her tomb in the north of the peninsula was discovered by coincidence.
All the jewels, especially the crown, which is exhibited in the hall inside the castle, are made with a magnificent workmanship that fascinates people. You can also watch the video broadcast about the discovery of the princess’s grave and the process of reviving her face. You can find more information about the castle on our article Bodrum Castle and its History.
Bodrum Underwater Archaeology Museum
Located in Bodrum Castle, Bodrum Underwater Archaeology Museum is one of the few underwater archaeology museums in the world. In the museum, you can see the world’s richest collection of Eastern Mediterranean amphora displayed in 14 exhibition halls. The collection consists of amphora dating back to 15 BC and later. You can also see the Bronze Age boat that sank in 1025 at Serce Harbour Glass Wreck Hall.
Uluburun Shipwreck, one of the most important exhibitions of the museum, is on display in the second and third sections of the “Bronze Age” hall. In addition to the exact replica of Uluburun, known as the oldest shipwreck in the world, many priceless artefacts such as the gold seal of the Egyptian Queen Nefertiti and the golden wine glass of the pharaoh are also included in this exhibition.
Other shipwrecks on display at the Bodrum Underwater Archeology Museum are: Gelidonya Wreck, Yassiada Wreck, Roman Merchant Ship Wreck, Seytan Deresi Wreck, Marmaris Serce Harbour Wreck and Tektas Cape Wreck. You can find more information in our Bodrum Underwater Archeology Museum article.
Mausoleum of Halicarnassus
The Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, which is a significant place for Bodrum, is considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The mausoleum, one of the most important and magnificent architectural monuments of the period it was built in, can be seen today on Turgutreis street in the centre of Bodrum as an open-air museum.
Although it does not rise in its former glory, this historical monument continues to add its soul to the city. Though most tourists who come to Bodrum overlook this important monument, an average of 20,000 people visit each year.
Reliefs and valuable pieces of the magnificent structure are exhibited in the museum. You can get much more information by reading our article on Halicarnassus Mausoleum, which is one of the comprehensive articles written about the mausoleum.
Bodrum Ancient Theatre
The Antique Theater, located on the Turgutreis road in Yeniköy Neighborhood, is the oldest theatre in Anatolia. The Ancient Theatre, which is located on the main road of Bodrum and on a hill against the sea, hosts many concerts in the summer months today. Of course, it is also possible to visit the theatre.
You can reach the Ancient Theatre by taking the Gumbet minibuses departing from Bodrum bus station.
Historical water cisterns (cupolas)
While you are wandering around the peninsula, you will see semi-circular white buildings, and it is impossible for these structures to not to attract the attention of anyone who is interested in history and architecture. These structures are water cisterns, also known as cupolas. These historic cisterns all over the peninsula were built hundreds of years ago to collect rainwater. It is thought that some of them were built during the Byzantine period and others during the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent.
There are two historical cisterns in Bodrum centre, which the locals call the 1st cistern and the 2nd cistern. To see these cisterns, it is enough to get on the Gümbet minibus and get off in the 1st or 2nd cisterns. They are within walking distance to each other.
Kizilhisarli Mustafa Pasha Mosque
There are several historical mosques on the peninsula built in the Ottoman period, and Kizilhisarli Mustafa Pasha Mosque in Iskele Square is one of them. The mosque, which is adjacent to Bodrum Castle, was built in 1723 by Mustafa Pasha of Kizilhisar. The historical mosque, which attracts the attention of tourists, is one of the historical buildings of Bodrum which needs to be seen.
Myndos Gate, built by King Mausolos, is located between Bodrum centre and Gumbet, and it is one of the buildings that has a very important place in terms of Bodrum’s historical places. When you get to Myndos Gate, which is also known as the gate that Alexander the Great could not pass through, you will see various ruins, not an organized museum. However, there are information signs next to the ruins, so you can get information about the historical structure while visiting the ruins.
You can reach Myndos Gate by an average 20-minute walk from the bus station. Or you can reach the ruins by taking the minibus from the bus station to Gumbet, getting off at the Gumbet junction, crossing the road and following the road next to the cemetery.
There are several historical windmills on Bardakci Hill, which is a hill overlooking both Bodrum and Gumbet views. The windmills, none of which are active today, are among the most interesting points of the peninsula. The most important reason for this is the fact that the hill offers an unmatched view rather than the windmills themselves.
One of the most frequent activities of the people living in Bodrum is to go up this hill and have a drink against the magnificent view. We also recommend you, you can go up the hill and see the historical windmills and enjoy the magnificent view. There is no grocery store on the hill, so if you are going to spend time on there, you should take your drinks with you.
The hill is rather steep and long and there’s not transportation going up there. If you take a bus from the bus station and tell the driver that you will get off by the windmills, they’ll drop you at the foot of the hill. You will have to walk the rest of the way.
Pedasa Ancient City
Pedasa Ancient City, located in Konacik Neighborhood which is between Bodrum centre and Bitez, is one of the most important historical values of the peninsula. Probably, the number of people who came to Bodrum and knew about the existence of this ancient city are very few, however, the city has a very important historical value.
The ancient city founded by the Lelegs starts from the north of Konacık and extends to the point that sees Torba harbour. The first excavations in the city were carried out by archaeologists from Italy between 1919 and 1921. And even though there have been intervals since then, excavations have continued in the city. In the ancient city, there are all settlements of the Lelegs such as the Temple of Artemis, palace ruins, monumental stone tombs, cemeteries, and city walls.
The most important part of the ancient city is undoubtedly the Temple of Athena, which is the oldest known temple of the Bodrum peninsula. It is also known that the temple, which is the first temple of the peninsula, was one of the most important sacred centres of the ancient age. In short, the Ancient City of Padesa is a must-see part of the Bodrum historical places list, do not leave the town without seeing this city.
Other historical windmills of the peninsula are located in Yalıkavak. We want to mention one mill especially, which is located on a hill on the Bodrum – Yalıkavak road and built by Karaibrahimoglu Mehmet Efendi in 1850, because it is still active. This mill still grinds flour today and has been restored to its original form and serves as a cafe. You can visit MMK Yeldeğirmeni to see inside the historical windmills and learn how they work. By the way, the view from the hill is amazing, as you can imagine.
One of the historical castles in the peninsula is Aspat Castle in Akyarlar. We cannot say there is much left from the castle, which was built on a hill overlooking Aspat Bay, but you should still see it. Again, there is no road leading to the castle, which was built in the period of King Mausolos. It will not an easy climb to the hill, but the view you will see when you reach the top will make you forget all your tiredness. You can experience unforgettable moments by climbing the castle, visiting the ruins and watching the unique view.
Bodrum Venetian Castle
This castle was also built in Akyarlar and again in the period of King Mausolos. The view of the castle, which was originally built as a watchtower, just like Aspat Castle, is magnificent. For this reason, different architectural influences are noticed in the castle, which has been under the sovereignty of many nations from the British, French, Venetians and Turks throughout its history.
You can reach Bodrum Venetian Castle by Akyarlar minibuses departing from Bodrum bus station.
Madnasa Ancient City
Ancient period writers Byzantine Stephanos and Pliny, as well as Herodotus, mentioned the Madnasa Ancient City, which was built on the slope of Pazar Mountain (although its name is a mountain, it would actually be a hill) in Golturkbuku bay. Although the exact foundation date of the city is not known, it is known that its people were forced to migrate to Halicarnassus and completely abandoned the city in the 4th century BC. Among the ruins that can be seen in Madnasa Ancient City today, there are cisterns, rock tombs, a stone tower and city walls.
Termera Ancient City
Established by Lelegs who left many ruins on the peninsula, Termera Ancient City is located in Asaralik Hill near Mandira Village in Turgutreis. It is possible to reach Termera by a dirt road from Turgutreis, as well as by driving to the village of Mandira, continuing on foot and walking for about half an hour. The city mentioned by the historian Herodotus is known as the richest of Lelegian cities. Although there are only a few tombs, wall remains and cisterns in the city today, it would not be fair not mentioning it amongst the historical places of Bodrum.
On Apostol Island, 15 minutes away from Gündoğan by boat, there is one of the rare historical architectural works of the peninsula; Apostol Church. Some daily boat tours stop by this island, you can go to the island by these boats or charter a boat. The church is on the top of the island and can be reached after about half an hour’s walk. The history of the basilica-planned church goes back to the 2nd century BC. The frescoes on the walls of the church are particularly interesting. If you are interested in history, make sure to put Apostol Church on your list of places to see.
One of the overlooked details about Bodrum is that the district has been an important maritime centre since ancient times. Let’s say that the famous Ottoman sailor Turgut Reis is also from Bodrum. The Ottoman Shipyard is one of the important milestones in the maritime history of the peninsula. The tower at the entrance of the shipyard, thought to have been founded in 1775, today serves as the District Governorship’s Ottoman Shipyard Tower Art Gallery.
Theangela Ancient City
There is no exact information about when the Theangela Ancient City on the Bodrum – Mumcular road was established. However, the city near Pinarlibelen Village Etrim District is thought to have been founded in the first half of the 4th century BC by King Mausolos, which we mentioned in many parts of our article. It is possible to see the castle ruins and walls of Theangela Ancient City, which is a must-see place among the historical places of Bodrum.
Myndos Ancient City
Although the ancient city of Myndos in Bozdag, near the popular town of Gumusluk, was believed to be founded during the reign of King Mausolos, it was actually founded by the Lelelegs. In the Mausolos period, it was moved a little north and rebuilt. Unfortunately, the city was submerged by earthquakes, and today it is possible to see the remains of this city on the path from Gümüşlük coast to Rabbit Island by walking from the sea. Although it is prohibited to set foot on Rabbit Island, we recommend that you take this walk in the sea to see the ruins of this city.
If you are going to come not only for the summer holiday but also to see the historical places of Bodrum, we recommend you to visit in April – May or September – October. June, July and August are the hottest months in Bodrum. Traveling in these warmer months can be a bit overwhelming. You can get more detailed information in our Bodrum Weather Guide article.
If you like seeing old Bodrum photos, there is a Facebook page called ‘Eski Bodrum’ (Old Bodrum) where old photos of Bodrum are shared. This account, where the people of Bodrum share their old photos, is worth seeing.
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