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Bodrum Mini Guide
Bodrum is a modern city built upon the remains of ancient Halicarnassus. It’s an important port city and faces the island of Kos
. Tourism is the main earner here and most of the city now revolves around parting the tourist from their lira or euro.
A Little History
The Carians were the first to populate the area being supplanted by the Greeks in the 7th century BC. The Persians ruled next before the city was taken by Alexander the Great. The city’s most famous resident King Mausolus reigned until 353 BC. After this, the city became important in Roman times before slipping into obscurity following Ottoman rule. In the middle of the 20th century the area was inhabited by fishermen and sponge divers until tourism became a possibility in the 80s.
How do you get There?
Over 40 airlines fly to Bodrum Airport, most of them seasonal chartered flights but some scheduled flights operate year round. The airport is 20 miles from the city but a plethora of buses, shuttles and coaches can get you to the city quickly.
What is There to See in the City
The Castle of St Peter dominates the city skyline. It was built in 1402 by the Knights Hospitaller from stones taken from the Tomb of King Mausolus. Today it houses the excellent Museum of Underwater Archaeology. Another great place to see is the Myndos Gates where a bloody battle was fought to prevent Alexander the Great’s army entering the city. You should also visit the remains of the Tomb of King Mausolus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
Anything to See Outside the City
On the road from Bodrum to Gumbet you’ll find the old Roman Amphitheatre, still in remarkable condition and testament to the importance the city held. All around the Bodrum peninsula you’ll see white wooden windmills that, until recently, were still used to grind corn. They have become so popular with tourists that a campaign to renovate and preserve them has been started.
Things to do in Bodrum
Bodrum has a great beach for a city; it stretches from the castle to the site of the Halikarnos night club and is backed with snack bars and restaurants. You should also take a boat trip around the peninsula either by yacht, catamaran or gulet. For some pampering, Bodrum has an excellent hamam, or Turkish bath house. Finally, tanned and invigorated, dance the night away at the Halikarnos night club for a magical experience.
Bodrum is full of little shops and market stalls selling traditional Turkish souvenirs including tapestries turned into all the kinds of receptacles you can think of. Loads of allegedly fake designer clothing adorn many shop rails – excellent value for money whether real or not.
What can I Fill my Tummy With?
Avoid the tourist trap restaurants if you can. Great places to eat where the locals eat too are 06 Lokanta, near the harbour which serves traditional food from (clean) dustbins or Urfa Diyari which serves the best Turkish pizza – pide, in the city.
Bodrum has many festivals but most are put on purely to entertain the tourists and lack tradition. Head out into the villages around the city for true festival tradition and talk to locals to find out what is going on.
- A little late for this year but if you're in Bodrum in winter and spring, you'll see a rather bizarre event. Called 'camel fights' they are more a test of strength between camels and involve tug of war, racing, carrying and lifting. Fascinating to watch, they're a feature of Turkish nomadic traditions.