|An impressive medieval
castle built by the Knights of Rhodes guards the entrance to Bodrum's
dazzling blue bay, in which the Aegean and the Mediterranean Seas meet.
The town's charm is well-known, attracting a diverse population of vacationers
who stroll along its long palm-lined waterfront, while elegant yachts crowd
Not far from town, you can swim in absolutely
clear, tideless, warm seas. Underwater divers, especially, will want to
explore the numerous reefs, caves and majestic rock formations. The waters
offer up multicoloured sponges of all shapes and sizes, octopi and an
immense variety of other aquatic life.
The reputation of Bodrum's boat yards date
back to ancient times, and today, craftsmen still build the traditional
yachts: the tirhandil with a pointed bow and stern, and the gulette with
a broad beam and rounded stern. The latter, especially, are used on excursions
and pleasure trips, and in the annual October Cup Race.
The yearly throng of visitors has encouraged
small entrepreneurs to make shopping in Bodrum a delight. Leather goods
of all kinds, natural sponges and the local blue glass beads are among
the bargains to be found in the friendly little shops along the narrow,
white-walled streets. Charming boutiques offer kilims, carpets, sandals
and embroidery as well as original fashions in soft cotton. Bodrum has
gained the reputation as the center of the Turkish art community with
its lively, friendly and Bohemian atmosphere and many small galleries.
This community has encouraged an informal day-time lifestyle and a night-time
of excitement. The evenings in Bodrum are for sitting idly in one of the
many restaurants, dining on fresh seafood and other Aegean specialities.
Afterwards nightclubs (some with cabaret) and superb discos keep you going
until dawn. Bodrum, known in ancient times as Halicarnassus,
was the birthplace of Heredotus and the site of King Mausolus's Tomb (4th
century B.C.), one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. In the harbour,
the Bodrum Castle, or the medieval castle of
St. Peter, is a fine example of 15th century Crusader architecture, and
has been converted into the Museum of Underwater Archaeology,
with remains dating as far back as the Bronze Age. The stunning panoramic
view from Göktepe, nearby, is much photographed
by visitors to the museum's second-century theatre.
The beautiful Bodrum Peninsula suits holidaymakers
interested in a subdued and relaxing atmosphere. Enchanting villages,
with guest-houses and small hotels on quiet bays, dot the peninsula. On
the southern coast, Bardakçi, Gümbet,
Bitez, Aktur, Ortakent
Yalisi, Karaincir, Bağla
and Akyarlar have fine, sandy beaches Campers
and windsurfers enjoy Gümbet, and at Bitez colourful sailboards weave
skilfully among the masts of yachts in the bay. On shore, you can enjoy
quiet walks through the orange and tangerine groves bordering the beach.
Ortakent has one of the longest stretches of
sandy beach in the area and offers an ideal place for relaxing in solitude.
One of the most beautiful beaches on the Bodrum peninsula, Karaincir,
is ideal for lively active days by the sea and relaxed, leisurely evenings
with local villagers. Finally, Akyarlar enjoys a well-deserved reputation
for the fine, powdery sand of its beach.
and Yalikavak, all with excellent beaches, lie
on the western side of the peninsula and are ideal for swimming, sunbathing
and water sports. In Turgutreis, the birthplace of a great Turkish admiral
of the same name, you will find a monument honouring him. In the ancient
port of Myndos (Gümüşlük) you can easily make many friends with the hospitable
and outgoing local population. In Yalıkavak, white-washed houses with
cascading bougainvillaea line narrow streets. Small cafes and the occasional
windmill create a picturesque setting. See the north coast of the peninsula
- Torba, Türkbükü,
Gölköy and Gündoğan
- by road or, even better, hire a boat and crew to explore the quiet coves,
citrus groves and wooded islands. Little windmills which still provide
the energy to grind grain, crown hills covered with olive trees. Torba,
a modern village with holiday villas and a nice marina is located 8 km
north of Bodrum. Gölköy and Türkbükü are small and simple fishing villages
with a handful of taverns overlooking a lovely bay.
After a boat trip to Karaada,
half an hour from Bodrum, you can bathe in the grotto where the warm mineral
waters flowing out of the rocks are believed to beautify the complexion.
The translucent and deep waters of the Gulf
of Gökova, on the southern shore of the Bodrum peninsula
vary from the darkest blue to the palest turquoise, and the coastline
is thickly wooded with every hue of green. In the evening, the sea reflects
the mountains silhouetted against the setting sun, and at night it shimmers
with phosphorescence. You can take a yacht tour or hire a boat from Bodrum
for a two, three or seven day tour of the gulf.
The Gulf of Güllük,
and harbour of the same name, lie north of the Bodrum peninsula on the
Aegean. The mythological Dolphin Boy is said to have been born a little
farther to the north at Kıyıkışlacık (lassos). South of Güllük, Varvil,
ancient Bargilya, sits at the end of a deep narrow inlet surrounded by
olive covered hillsides.
Inland from Güllük is Milas,
ancient Mylasa, known for its beautiful carpets - a century old tradition
which continues today. The weavers rarely mind a visitor watching them
at work. Plenty of old Turkish houses with carved timbers and latticed
windows provide examples of the vernacular architectural style. Gümüşkesen,
a monumental tomb, thought to be a small copy of the famous Halicarnassus
Mausoleum, stands in the west of the city.
The ancients built Labranda, a sanctuary
dedicated to Zeus, high in the mountains. Today, tourists have rediscovered
this mountain retreat and escape to its exhilarating air and breathtaking