Castle of St Peter, Bodrum, Turkey

Bodrum‘s  medieval Castle of Saint Peter is the town’s must-see sight: you can hardly not see it, as it dominates the waterfront and the bay beyond (map).

However, the castle was closed for restoration in October 2017 and will not re-open until late in 2019, if the work is completed then.

Historical parts of the castle will be restored, and the excellent Museum of Underwater Archeology, established here in 1962, will be razed and completely rebuilt in a new style. Although the new facility will probably be more in line with modern museum standards, some architects have protested the changes, saying they will alter the character of the castle completely. We will see.

Museum of Underwater Archeology

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 AD.

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.

Castle of Saint Peter

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.


Map of Bodrum

The Mausoleum

Greco-Roman Theater

Excursions from Bodrum

What to See & Do

Bodrum Hotels

Bodrum Transport

Bodrum Peninsula

About Bodrum

Aegean Turkey

Mediterranean Turkey

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