Halicarnassus is a bit of an oddity. Not in terms of what it represents, but for its unimpressive and lack lustre image when compared with other more spectacular historical sites. The historic ruins include the site of the tomb of King Mausolos, the theatre and Myndos Gate. They can all be found within the city of Bodrum and are reasonably close to each other.
This enormous structure was so impressive, and such a work of art, that the king would be forever remembered for his tomb rather then his deeds. In fact the very word “masusoleum” was used for all similar buildings thereafter. The small museum on the site shows you how the mausoleum may have looked before it was destroyed by earthquakes and looting. The mausoleum which was completed in 350 BC and is known as one one of the original seven wonders of the ancient world.
The Mausoleum was said to have been 20 stories in height ( 45 metres ). The sides were adorned with sculptures created by famous Greek stone masons. It would have been an incredible sight and it is easy to see why it earned its place in history. Unfortunately much of what is left requires an incredible imagination to understand how it might have looked. Thankfully there are some mock ups and museum information on the site which give you some ideas. Considering its importance you would think that there would be a constant flow of tourists flocking to the ruins. Sadly this is not the case.
The Gate of Myndos and the theatre are also quiet and lack the numbers you would expect for such a busy tourist resort such as Bodrum. When we visited in September the theatre was actually fenced off. It was constructed in the 4th century BC and enlarged in the 2nd century during Roman times and was built to seat 10,000 people.
Halicarnassus ( Halikarnas ) was founded by the Dorian Greeks. It is an ancient city of Caria and with a large sheltered habour it would have been a very important and influential trading post and military base. During the reign of Mausolos it became the capital of Caria. It expanded and would have had many impressive public buildings. There are still the remains of some of the buildings and the city wall although much of the ruins were used in the construction of Bodrum Castle.