medieval Castle of
St Peter is the town's must-see sight:
you can hardly not see
it, as it dominates the waterfront
and the bay beyond (map).
Come for the castle itself, but also
for its excellent Museum of
Underwater Archeology established
here in 1962. Hundreds of artifacts
gathered at first by Bodrum's sponge-divers,
and later by archeologists, are on
display, including tools and goods
from shipwrecks spread over 32 centuries—from
the 16th century BC to the 16th century
Cargo amphorae, gold jewelry, ships'
equipment and even two of the ships
themselves are on display, as is the
rich burial treasure of a noble lady
known as the Carian Princess who
was buried in the 300s BC.
You will tour the castle as
well. It assumed something of its present
shape beginning in 1402, when the Knights
Hospitaller of Rhodes built
it where King Mausolus (377-353 BCE)
may once have had his palace, and
where later armies, including the
Hospitallers, had built smaller fortresses.
But in 1402 it was enlarged and strengthened,
in part using stone pillaged from the
nearby Mausoleum. Each
of the order's luingistic/national
groups had its own tower: French, German,
English, Italian. By
1406 the chapel was
done, the English Tower by 1413, and
by 1437 the mighty walls.
After Constantinople fell to the armies
of Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror in 1453,
the castle was attacked by the sultan's
armies, but withstood them, as it did
again in 1480. But in the 1500s, strengthening
with more stones from the Mausoleum was
insufficient to guarantee it against
the mighty forces of Sultan
Süleyman the Magnificent.
In 1522 the castle fell, the knights
departed, and the sultan's standard
flew on the English Tower.
The castle actually gave Bodrum its
modern name: it was known as Petronium ("Peter's"), which became Bodrum (cellar, dungeon) in Turkish.
of St Peter, Bodrum, Turkey.