You’ve surely heard of the ancient Greek city of Halicarnassus (Ἀλικαρνασσός) and its famous mausoleum, but where was this city located? The modern city of Bodrum in Turkey. Only a few bits and pieces of the ancient city are still around to this day.
The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, was built in 353 BC for King Mausolus of Caria and his wife and sister, Artemisia II. The word “mausoleum” is derived from the name of King Mausolus.
As the biggest attraction in Bodrum after the Castle of St. Peter, the mausoleum might be disappointing to most visitors. As you saw above, all that’s left are a few scattered columns and the burial chamber which is now flooded with water. The mausoleum, which once stood 45m high, was ruined in a series of earthquakes between the 12th and 14th centuries. The Knights of St. John plundered the remains to fortify their castle, and many items now reside in the British Museum in London.
While exploring the site, you’ll be able to see some pre-mausoleum tombs as well.
The mausoleum is open from 8am to 6:30pm daily except Mondays. Admission is 10TL (as of November 2016). A small museum explaining the history and construction of the mausoleum will help a visitor better understand the significance of the structure. For a virtual tour, click here.
Located across a highway above the city center is the Halicarnassus Theatre. It was built during the reign of King Mausolus in the 4th century BC and held up to 5,000 people. Admission is free. It’s open from 8:30am to 6:30pm daily except Mondays. For a virtual tour, click here.
On the western side of town is the Myndos Gate. This is the last surviving gate of the walls of Halicarnassus, which once spanned 7km. They are quite significant historically. In the remains of the moat in front of the gate, Alexander the Great lost many soldiers during his attempt to take over the city.
There are a few ancient Roman tombs scattered near the gate, some with impressive mosaics.