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The Castle of St. Peter is Bodrum’s iconic piece of architecture. It overlooks the town and provides a constant reminder of Bodrum’s rich history of large-scale architecture and grand building projects. Built by the Order of the Knights Hospitallers in 1402, the castle is a distinct part of the Bodrum skyline and a majestic example of medieval defensive architecture. The majority of the castle was built from the remains of the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus(being the old name of the city.) The Mausoleum is one of the remaining seven wonders of the ancient world in addition to the Temple of Artemisia at Selçuk.
The castle is also home to the worlds largest underwater archeology museum which has a remarkable collection including one wreck from the 12th Century a.d. and one from 400 b.c. There are fascinating records of trading patterns in ancient times.
There are the remains of Queen Ada, whose tomb dates from Mausolus's time (some 400B.C) - she was discovered complete with all her impressive jewellery some 10 years ago and now resides in the Castle. There are a number of towers in the castle - each of them built by different parts of the Order of St. John. There is an English, German and Italian tower in the castles.
The castle itself has been extensively repaired and now houses an amazing array of artefacts over the last three thousand years. The castle hosts an International Ballet Festival in August and there are a number of concerts in the summer months both here and in the Amphitheatre.
For earlier examples of Bodrum architecture, visit the Amplitheatre, built during the Hellenistic dynasty of the 200s B.C. Even older is the foundation of the Mausoleum, which was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Built when the Persians made Halicarnassus (the ancient name for Bodrum) their capital, the mausoleum survived Alexander the Great’s invasion but was gradually taken apart over the following centuries and used for other building projects. Unfortunately, only the foundation survives today.
While much of Bodrum’s ancient architecture is in similar states of disrepair, extensive excavations and restoration projects have been organized in recent years. Currently being restored to their former glory are the walls of Halicarnassus, which enclosed the old city and harbor. The only entrance into the fortified city was the magnificent Myndos gate, which - thanks to careful restoration - looks close to how it did millennia ago.