Bodrum Castle and Museum of Underwater Archaeology

The original name of Bodrum Castle is St. Peter’s Castle. Built between 1406 and 1523 by the Knights of St. Jean, the rocky region where the castle is located was an island in ancient times, just like Kızkalesi in Mersin, but in time it was filled in and became a peninsula. The stones of the Mausoleum, one of the seven wonders of the world, were used in the construction of Bodrum Castle, which is dominated by harbors on the right and left.

Information about Bodrum Castle

After Rhodes Island was taken by the Ottomans in 1522, the knights left Bodrum in 1523. After 1895, the castle was used as a prison and was destroyed by the French battleship Dublex during World War I and then abandoned. In the 1960s it was used as a museum warehouse and it was decided to turn it into a museum.

Bodrum Kalesi Kroki Haritasi

Walk along the harbor to enter Bodrum Castle, which was built in a square plan measuring 180 x 185 meters. You will see the entrance doors as Bodrum Underwater Archaeology Museum. When you visit Bodrum Castle, you will see the French, English, German, Italian, Spanish towers, the bathhouse, the mosque created by adding a minaret to the chapel, the dungeon, various halls, exhibitions and shipwrecks. You can draw the best route by following the arrows on the ground. There are two tours, short and long, and you continue by choosing one of them according to your pleasure and time.

Bodrum Kalesi Avlusu
Bodrum Kalesi Bahcesi

Since Bodrum Underwater Archaeology Museum is also located in Bodrum Castle, I will explain the castle and the archaeology museum separately as much as possible. When you go up to the garden of the castle, there are amphorae and the places where they are mined on the left side.

To the right is a chapel. The chapel was built by the Knights of St. Jean, and after it came under Ottoman rule, a minaret was added and turned into a mosque in accordance with tradition. In 1671, Evliya Çelebi, who came to Bodrum in 1671, wrote in his notes that this mosque was called Süleymaniye Mosque. Destroyed in 1915 during the bombardment, the minaret was rebuilt in 1997 in accordance with the original.

Bodrum Kalesi Sapel Binasi
Bodrum Kalesi Sapel Cami Minaresi

As you stroll through the garden of Bodrum Castle following the arrows, you may suddenly come across a dove or a peacock. They keep such animals inside, so don’t be afraid if you see them suddenly. Bodrum Castle has many towers built by the rulers who came under its sovereignty. One of them is the English Tower located at the corner of Bodrum Castle. As soon as you step inside the English Tower, you find yourself in another land. Decorated with a long table and English decorative elements, the tower is transformed into an impressive tower with medieval music in the background.

The room opposite the Cape Tektas Wreck is the Italian Tower. Coins and jewelry are exhibited in this tower. From the smallest coins, the tetratemorion, to the largest coin, the tetradrachm, the coins used in the region are arranged according to their weight. One of the display cases in this room shows a diagrammatic display of the purchasing power of the larger coins. The amounts of tetradrachms correspond to how many oxen, and the earnings of slaves, unskilled laborers and soldiers are calculated to give an idea.

Bodrum Kalesi Para Birimleri
Bodrum Kalesi Sikkeler

In the Italian Tower, in the room where the coins are kept, there are grave finds from the Hellenistic period. Objects such as valuables buried with the deceased after death can be seen in the showcases here.

Bodrum Kalesi Mezar Buluntulari
Bodrum Kalesi Mezar Buluntulari Eserleri

There is also a dungeon in the castle. The dungeon built by Gatineau is called Gatineau Tower. This tower was used as a dungeon in 1513 – 1522 after it was closed with cannon embrasures and blocked with air chimneys. You can visit the dungeon. In the dungeon you will see a mannequin being tortured and some torture instruments.

The Spanish Tower, called the Serpent Tower because of the snake relief near the entrance, was used as an infirmary during the time of the knights. Today it is used as an exhibition area for amphorae brought from various parts of the Mediterranean.

Bodrum Kalesi Yilan Kulesi Kabartmasi
Bodrum Kalesi Yilan Kulesi

Since Bodrum Castle is a very large castle, it has an endless structure. While visiting Bodrum Castle, do not forget to watch the wonderful sea, harbor and coastal views of Bodrum at every opportunity.

Bodrum Kalesi Gezisi
Bodrum Kalesi Gezilecek Yerler

What are Bodrum Castle entrance fee and visiting hours?

Bodrum Castle is also known as Bodrum Underwater Archaeology Museum. If you have a Müzekart, you can enter for free. In summer, it can be visited every day of the week between 08:30 – 18:30. In the winter season, it is open every day except Monday between 08:30 – 16:30.

Where is Bodrum Castle and how to get there?

Bodrum Castle is located in the center of Bodrum. You can reach it from the end of Neyzen Tevfik Street next to Bodrum Marina. Bodrum Castle is 1.2km, 15 minutes walk from Zeki Müren Art Museum. It is also 1km from the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus and you can reach the castle in about 13 minutes.

Bodrum Museum of Underwater Archaeology

Do not return without seeing Bodrum Underwater Archaeology Museum during your visit to Bodrum. Bodrum Museum of Underwater Archaeology, one of the most important underwater archaeology museums in the world, is located in Bodrum Castle. When you enter Bodrum Castle, you can closely see the archaeological artifacts scattered around the bastions or various areas in the castle.

Information about Bodrum Museum of Underwater Archaeology

The first sea trade in the Mediterranean began around 4000 BC. Egypt was the leader of maritime trade for about 2000 years. After Egypt, the Minoan civilization took over the region, followed by the Achaeans, Phoenicians and Greeks. After Christ, sea trade came under the rule of Roman and Byzantine rulers.

Throughout history, inadequate technical facilities and the movement of boats with human and sea power caused ancient sailors to prefer coastal areas to find their way. In ancient times, trade mostly took place in the summer months and stagnation was experienced in the winter months. Especially Crete, Rhodes and Cyprus, which were located on the great sea route trade, became a frequent destination for boats.

Contrary to what many of us think, the underwater museum is not a museum underwater, but a museum where wrecks, materials and items found as a result of archaeological excavations underwater are exhibited. Bodrum Underwater Archaeology Museum has a very large collection of amphorae. In the large courtyard after entering the castle, you will see many amphorae lined up on the left side. In ancient times, amphorae were mostly used for the transportation and storage of wine, olive oil and dry food during trade. On each amphora, there are seals made before the amphorae were baked. Information such as which city it came from, which kingdom it belonged to, the place where the amphora was made and the name of the merchant can be found on these seals.

Sponge fishing is predominantly practiced in Bodrum. Sponge divers encounter amphorae during their dives and bring these amphorae to the surface. Most of the amphorae in Bodrum Castle are amphorae found underwater by those interested in sponge fishing and presented to the museum. There are differences between the amphorae produced in various places where sea trade is intense. Amphorae from many trade centers such as Cyprus amphorae and Chios amphorae produced on the island of Chios can be found. Among the artifacts of the Bodrum Underwater Archaeology Museum, we can also see the artifacts donated to the museum by captains and fishermen.

Bodrum Kalesi Bahce Amforalar
Bodrum Sualti Arkeoloji Muzesi Amfora Koleksiyonu

The building, called the Serpent Tower because of the snake relief next to the entrance door, was previously used as an infirmary. Today it is an exhibition area for amphorae. Bodrum Museum of Underwater Archaeology has the world’s richest collection of Eastern Mediterranean amphorae, with the oldest amphora dating back to the 14th century BC.

Bodrum Kalesi Yilan Kulesi Kabartmasi
Bodrum Kalesi Amfora Koleksiyonu

Sparrow Harbor Glass Wreck Excavation

The Serçe Limanı Glass Shipwreck, one of the most important shipwrecks in the world, was found 40 km south of Marmaris in 1973 by sponge diver Mehmet Aşkın and started to be excavated by the Underwater Archaeology Institute. The sunken ship, which sank in 1025 AD, during the peace period before the Crusades, was found at a depth of 32 meters near the shore. Considered one of the earliest examples of the transition from ancient to modern ships, the shipwreck contained 2.5 tons of broken glass, processed glass scraps and glass ingots, and 90 intact glass vessels.

Bodrum Sualti Arkeoloji Muzesi Cam Batigi Kazisi Eserleri
Bodrum Sualti Arkeoloji Muzesi Cam Batigi Kazisi Buluntulari

The ship is about 16 meters long, 5 meters wide and can carry 35 tons of cargo. Apart from the keel, the entire hull is made of pine wood. The ship, with its planking and ribs attached to each other using iron and wood nails and wedged studs, pioneered the infrastructure that would be used in the ships that crossed the Atlantean ocean in later years. The keel in Bodrum Castle was created by assembling hundreds of wooden pieces. However, even in this state, it is said that only 20% of the boat has been uncovered.

Bodrum Sualti Arkeoloji Muzesi Serce Limani Batigi Gemi
Bodrum Sualti Arkeoloji Muzesi Serce Limani Batigi Gemi Iskeleti

The hall in another tower where the glass shipwrecks are exhibited is a very dark place and the materials inside are illuminated with a little light from underneath. All of the artifacts were recovered from underwater. Most of the artifacts were recovered from the Serçe Shipwreck Harbor, but there are also glass ingots recovered from the Kaş Uluburun Shipwreck. Glass finds from ancient cities such as Stratonikeia and Kaunos are among the historical glass artifacts you can see.

Bodrum Sualti Arkeoloji Muzesi Cam Batiklar Salonu Eserleri
Bodrum Sualti Arkeoloji Muzesi Cam Batiklar Salonu Buluntular

Wreck of Cape Tektas

As a result of excavations carried out between 1999 and 2001 near Çeşme, the Tektaş Cape Shipwreck, which was excavated from depths of 38 to 43 meters, is also among the exhibited artifacts. It is possible to see the amphoras belonging to the shipwreck dating back to 400 BC and the finds unearthed as a result of excavations.

Bodrum Sualti Arkeoloji Muzesi Tektas Burnu Batigi Eserleri
Bodrum Sualti Arkeoloji Muzesi Tektas Burnu Batigi Amforalari

Uluburun Shipwreck

It was determined that the Uluburun Shipwreck found near Kaş carried mainly pure copper. In addition to pure copper, ox skins and ingots in various forms were also found. Ingots are materials that have not yet been transformed into an object. In the places they reach through trade, ingots undergo various processes and are finalized. In Uluburun Shipwreck, tons of copper and tin ingots were found.

Bodrum Sualti Arkeoloji Muzesi Uluburun Batigi Eserleri
Bodrum Sualti Arkeoloji Muzesi Uluburun Batigi Buluntulari

The destination of the Uluburun Shipwreck, a Bronze Age shipwreck and known as the oldest shipwreck in the world, is unknown. However, it is thought that the shipwreck may have sunk shortly after 1305 BC, based on the dating method based on ceramic vessel shapes, Nefertiti’s seal and tree rings.

Bodrum Sualti Arkeoloji Muzesi Uluburun Batigi Gezisi
Bodrum Sualti Arkeoloji Muzesi Uluburun Batigi Agaci

What are the entrance fee and visiting hours of Bodrum Underwater Archaeology Museum?

Bodrum Museum of Underwater Archaeology is located inside Bodrum Castle. If you have a Müzekart, you can enter for free. Normally, it can be visited between 08:30 – 18:30 every day of the week in summer. In the winter season, it is open from 08:30 to 16:30 every day except Monday.