Bodrum is a district and a port city in Muğla Province, in the southwestern Aegean Region of Turkey. It is located on the southern coast of Bodrum Peninsula, at a point that checks the entry into the Gulf of Gökova, and is also the center of the eponymous district. The city was called Halicarnassus of Caria in ancient times and was famous for housing the Mausoleum of Mausolus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Built by the Knights Hospitaller in the 15th century, Bodrum Castle, overlooks the harbour and the marina. The castle grounds include a Museum of Underwater Archaeology and hosts several cultural festivals throughout the year. The city had a population of 36,317 in 2012.
Bodrum has a hot-summer Mediterranean climate (Csa in the Koeppen climate classification). Winter average is around 15 °C (59 °F) and in the summer 34 °C (93 °F), with very sunny spells. Summers are hot and mostly sunny and winters are mild and humid.
Halicarnassus (Ancient Greek: Ἁλικαρνᾱσσός Halikarnassós or Ἀλικαρνασσός Alikarnassós; Turkish: Halikarnas) was an ancient Greek city at the site of modern Bodrum in Turkey. Halicarnassus was founded by Dorian Greeks, and the figures on its coins, such as the head of Medusa, Athena or Poseidon, or the trident, support the statement that the mother cities were Troezen and Argos. The inhabitants appear to have accepted Anthes, a son of Poseidon, as their legendary founder, as mentioned by Strabo, and were proud of the title of Antheadae. The Carian name for Halicarnassus has been tentatively identified with Alosδkarnosδ in inscriptions.
At an early period Halicarnassus was a member of the Doric Hexapolis, which included Kos, Cnidus, Lindos, Kameiros and Ialysus; but it was expelled from the league when one of its citizens, Agasicles, took home the prize tripod which he had won in the Triopian games, instead of dedicating it according to custom to the Triopian Apollo. In the early 5th century Halicarnassus was under the sway of Artemisia I of Caria (also known as Artemesia of Halicarnassus), who made herself famous as a naval commander at the battle of Salamis. Of Pisindalis, her son and successor, little is known; but Lygdamis, the tyrant of Halicarnussus, who next attained power, is notorious for having put to death the poet Panyasis and causing Herodotus, possibly the best known Halicarnassian, to leave his native city (c. 457 BC).
The city later fell under Persian rule. Under the Persians, it was the capital city of the satrapy of Caria, the region that had since long constituted its hinterland and of which it was the principal port. Its strategic location ensured that the city enjoyed considerable autonomy. Archaeological evidence from the period such as the recently discovered Salmakis (Kaplankalesi) Inscription, now in Bodrum Museum of Underwater Archaeology, attest to the particular pride its inhabitants had developed. Alexander the Great laid siege to the city after his arrival in Carian lands and, together with his ally, the queen Ada of Caria, captured it after fighting in 334 BCE.
Mausolus ruled Caria from here, nominally on behalf of the Persians and independently in practical terms, for much of his reign from 377 to 353 BC. When he died in 353 BC, Artemisia II of Caria, who was both his sister and his widow, employed the ancient Greek architects Satyros and Pythis, and the four sculptors Bryaxis, Scopas, Leochares and Timotheus to build a monument, as well as a tomb, for him. The word “mausoleum” derives from the structure of this tomb. It was a temple-like structure decorated with reliefs and statuary on a massive base. Today only the foundations and a few pieces of sculpture remain.
Crusader Knights arrived in 1402 and used the remains of the Mausoleum as a quarry to build the still impressively standing Bodrum Castle (Castle of Saint Peter), which is a well-preserved example of the late Crusader architecture in the east Mediterranean. The Knights Hospitaller (Knights of St. John) were given permission to build it by the Ottoman sultan Mehmed I, after Tamerlane had destroyed their previous fortress located in İzmir’s inner bay. The castle and its town became known as Petronium, whence the modern name Bodrum derives.
In 1522, Suleiman the Magnificent conquered the base of the Crusader knights on the island of Rhodes, who then relocated first briefly to Sicily and later permanently to Malta, leaving the Castle of Saint Peter and Bodrum to the Ottoman Empire.
Bodrum was a quiet town of fishermen and sponge divers until the mid-20th century; although, as Mansur points out, the presence of a large community of bilingual Cretan Turks, coupled with the conditions of free trade and access with the islands of the Southern Dodecanese until 1935, made it less provincial.The fact that traditional agriculture was not a very rewarding activity in the rather dry peninsula also prevented the formation of a class of large landowners. Bodrum has no notable history of political or religious extremism either. A first nucleus of intellectuals started to form after the 1950s around the writer Cevat Şakir Kabaağaçlı, who had first come here in exile two decades before and was charmed by the town to the point of adopting the pen name Halikarnas Balıkçısı (‘The Fisherman of Halicarnassus’).
Herodotus – ancient Greek historian, the “father of history”
Julian of Halicarnassus was a bishop in the early 6th century
Mausolus – Carian ruler
Artemisia II of Caria – Carian ruler
Dionysius – ancient Greek historian and teacher of rhetoric in the Roman period
Turgut Reis – Ottoman Turkish admiral
Avram Galanti Bodrumlu – University Teacher, Journalist, Politician and Philosopher of Sephardic Origin
Halikarnas Balıkçısı, literally ‘The Fisherman of Halicarnassus’ – Turkish writer born in Istanbul, resident of Bodrum for decades and a symbol for the town
Neyzen Tevfik – Turkish ney virtuoso and pundit
Zeki Müren – Turkish singer born in Bursa, resident of Bodrum for decades and a symbol for the town
Janet Akyüz Mattei – director of the American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO) from 1973 to 2004
Abdurrahman Nafiz Gürman – military officer in the Ottoman and Turkish armies