Opposite the Greek island of Kos,on a stupendous peninsula in the southern Aegean rises the city of Bodrum, Halicarnassus in ancient times, the carian capital and native city of the historian Herodotus. Bodrum is similar in air and colour to parts of southern italywith oddly-shaped whitewashed houses filled with flowers mostly purple and fuchsia-coloured bougainvillaeas, oleanders and prickly-pears. The city has plenty of shops selling almost everything and there are numerous restaurants, hotels, nightclubs and cafes along the shore. Street vendors ply marine sponges, oranges and mandarins. Bodrum has been called the ST. Tropez of Turkey, for its translucent sea, numerious baysand small ports. The city has barely 25.000 inhabitants who during the winter live off fishing, sponge collecting, boat building and agriculture. The famous wooden boats called caiques are made here. In ancient times Bodrum was first under Persian rule, and later Greek. The city was conquered by Alexander the great and destroyed. Later the Roman controlled Bodrum and they were followed by the selcuks, and the turks and in 1492 the city fell to the knights of St. John, sovereigns of Rhodos (The knights of Malta)who built the massive castle of St. Peter. The castle was constructed using stones from the mausoleum and dominates the town. It was equipped with an early powerful cannon, at the time a novel instrument of warfare. Several museums now occupy the large rooms in the castle. In the chapel of the knights hospitaller for example is the museum of underwater Archaeology, where relics from Greek, Roman and Phoenician shipsfound on the sea bed are displayed. There are a number of finds from the Mycenaean period in the French Tower and a collection of amphorae in the serpent’s tower. Not a great deal remains of the most important monument, the mausoleum, which Pliny the Elder celebrated as one of the seven wonders of the world.it was built by Artemisia in mamory of her loved husband Mausolus (hance the same mausoleum) in the centre of the town. it had a rectangular floor plan with thirty-six Doric columns and it was surmounted by a pyramid-shaped roof with a frieze depicting a four-horse chariot and two statues perhaps representing Mausolus and Artemisia. Only a few marble fragments can be seen today but there are several drawings and pieces of recently unearthted sculpture. The other findings are in the British museum in London.
Before leaving Bodrum, take a boat trip south to the Black island (Karaada) where baths in orange mud may be enjoyed. The Turks claim great healing properties for them and afterwards you can wash in water which gushes from a plentiful hot spring in the grotto.
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