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Turkey: Bodrum, Dalyan, Ephesus, Gulf of Gokova, Istanbul
Bodrum, Turkey: Gateway to the Blue Voyage
by Prakash Bang, Editor in Chief
Bodrum, the ancient city of Halicarnassus and once the capital of the Kingdom of Caria is located in the southwest corner of the Aegean region of Turkey. Today, the city is a major tourist attraction due to its beautiful coastline, excellent climate and its proximity to many sites of historical importance.
I was in Bodrum leading a group of 11 other holiday makers, keen to experience the Blue Voyage. We had hired a Gulet (traditional wooden sailboat) to sail the Gulf of Gokova. We reached for our boat straight from the airport on a Friday evening. We would commence sailing the next morning.
After occupying our cabins, we were free to explore Bodrum that evening.
Nightclubs, cafes and restaurants stay open all night to accommodate Bodrum's party-hearty types. The night life of Bodrum is something really very special. Even Turks will rank Bodrum after Istanbul as Number 2. Bodrum probably has more bars per area than all other places in Turkey; appealing to all tastes. Among them are intimate seaside cafes with magnificent views of the illuminated castle. Bar Street is one-mile long that runs parallel with the sea.
Perpendicular to the Bar Street are other streets that are flanked by hundreds of shops selling artefacts, garments, watches, bags and sorts. Consider the town as a shoppers paradise. The stuff on display is brands from around the world but at fraction of the original cost. The shopkeepers love to call their merchandise “First Copy”. Like bars and cafes, most of the shops remain open all night long.
We were scheduled to depart after breakfast the next morning. However, since we had chartered the Gulet, we had the freedom to detour. We decided to explore the Mausoleum of Mausolus and the Bodrum Castle.
Walking through streets and narrow alleys, we reached the site of the mausoleum. The entry fee was 8 Turkish Lira. At the time of writing, USD1 fetched TRY1.8.
The Mausoleum of Halicarnassus was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and was built in Halicarnassus Mavsolos (most probably in 335 BC) on behalf of King Mausolos, by his wife and his sister Artemisia. Mausoleum is a very big grave that combines Greek and Egyptian architecture. Today the site is an open-air museum. A short video takes you back to the details of the mausoleum and the grandeur that once it was.
From there we walked to the Bodrum Castle.
Whether viewed from the sea or the land, Bodrum’s famous castle is an impressive example of medieval architecture. Construction of the castle took years to complete and occupying some 30,000 square feet at its base. In its days, the castle was a monumental symbol of the unity of Christian Europe against the ascending power of the Ottoman Empire.
The castle is in excellent condition, it now houses one of the world's finest museums (with exhibits on underwater archaeology). Mostly stones used in the construction came from the tomb of king Mausoleum of Halicarnassus. In the 15th century AD, the Knights of St John invaded the region (whose headquarters were on Rhodes Island) and began constructing the castle that we see today. Since we were all excited to set sail, we skipped visiting the inside of the castle and the underwater museum.
We walked back to one of the piers where our Gulet was anchored. Soon we set sail (motored to be precise) for the Blue Voyage.
Bodrum Image Gallery Photo viewer
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