In 2003, I visited Bodrum, ancient Halicarnassus, for the first time, and to be honest: it’s a bit of a disappointment. Back then, there were few tourists, but today, the streets are crowded with people, and that changes everything. Nevertheless, we were the only visitors to the remains of the mausoleum, the theater, and the Myndus Gate. Unfortunately, we weren’t the only ones at the museum.
Which is only fair. The Museum of Underwater Archaeology in Bodrum, situated in a Crusader castle that was, in turn, built on top of a Hellenistic fort, is a lovely place. Its beautiful gardens are the home of several splendid peacocks. From the towers, you can see as far as the isle of Kos. And it has a splendid collection, which consists, for a large part, of the cargos of ancient shipwrecks.
It is hard to summarize. There is a room with splendid glasswork; there’s also a room with the contents of the Uluburun wreck; you can see the weapons of the Knights of St John; there is an exhibition of amphoras; and you simply must see that tomb of a Carian princess, who may or may not be Ada, the last of the Hecatomnids. Next to it is a fine sphinx in Graeco-Persian style, which I really love.
Yes, the museum of Bodrum comes close to perfection, although I would appreciate the possibility to buy a catalog. That inscription mentioning an “Aelius, philosopher from the Museum” needed more explanation. That being said: yes, Bodrum is worth a detour.