Mausoleum at Halicarnassus: Monument of King Mausolus

One of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus is a majestic tomb built to honor King Mausolus of Caria, now located in Turkey.

This majestic structure was one of the most impressive ancient monuments for its intricate architecture and attention to detail. In this blog post, I talk about the history and importance of the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, as well as its architectural features.

Meaning of Mausoleum

The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus is a mausoleum that has not survived to the present day. The word mausoleum comes from King Mausolos, for whom the mausoleum was built. All buildings of the same type built after King Mausolus were called mausoleums.

Anıtkabir where Atatürk’s tomb is located, Hadrian’s tomb in Rome known as St. Angelo Castle, Taj Mahal built for Shah Jahan, Lenin’s tomb in Moscow are some of the examples that correspond to the concept of mausoleum.

What is the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus?

It was built in 351 BC by order of King Mausolus of Caria and designed by Greek architects Satyros and Pythis. The Mausoleum was a tomb for King Mausolus and his wife Queen Artemisia II.

The mausoleum was considered one of the most impressive structures in the ancient world. It was about 45 meters high and decorated with intricate carvings and sculptures. The roof was made of marble and decorated on all four sides with reliefs depicting scenes from the life of Mausolus.

The inside of the mausoleum was even more impressive than the outside. The chamber was lined with magnificent carved marble statues and contained two sarcophagi, one for Mausolus and one for Artemisia.

Above the sarcophagi was a statue of Hermes Psychopompous (the guide of the underworld) leading Mausolus and Artemisia to their eternal resting place.

Bodrum Halikarnas Mozolesi Antik Donem Cizimi
The 7th wonder of the world, the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus

At the top of the mausoleum was a statue of Mausolus driving a chariot, which was said to be so realistic that it looked ready to move.

The mausoleum, which was last seen in the 12th century, is thought to have been destroyed by an earthquake. The Knights of St. Jean, who came to Bodrum in the 1400s, saw the monument in ruins and used its stones to build Bodrum Castle.

In the 1850s, British researcher Newton took the reliefs, statues of Mausolus and Artemisia and parts of the chariot to the British Museum during his excavations in the area where the mausoleum was located.

Bodrum Halikarnas Mozolesi Gezisi
Bodrum Halikarnas Mozolesi Gezilecek Yerler

Today, only ruins remain of this once grand structure. However, the ruins still give us a sense of the scale and grandeur of the original monument.

The Mausoleum is important not only for its beauty, but also for its role in inspiring later architectural achievements around the world.

Today, the Mausoleum is an open-air museum. When you enter the area where the mausoleum, one of the 7 ancient wonders of the world, is located, first visit the indoor exhibition hall on the left.

This will give you a better understanding of what the mausoleum is like. In the first part of the exhibition halls you can see a model and a topographical map of the mausoleum.

Mausoleum at Halicarnassus entrance fee

The Mausoleum, built for King Mausolus, son of King Hecatomnos, has an entrance fee. You can follow the current price on their website. Those with Museum Pass can enter the museum for free.

Bodrum Halikarnas Mozolesi Mezar Odasi
Bodrum Halikarnas Mozolesi Sutun Kalintilari

Where is the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus?

The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus is located very close to Bodrum harbor. If you are in the harbor, walk up Saray Street for about 200 meters. If you are on Turgut Reis Street, you will see the entrance of the museum on the right when you go in the direction of Bodrum Castle.

If you are coming by car, you will not find a parking lot because Turgut Reis Street is a narrow and one-way road. But if you find a parking space, it may be possible to quickly visit the mausoleum by pulling to the left on the slightly widening roads and turning on the quads.

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Frequently Asked Questions

The most curious questions and answers about Mozole.

Why was the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus built?

The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus was built as the tomb of Mausolus, a Persian satrap in the Carian region of Anatolia. Mausolus was a powerful ruler who died in 353 BC. His wife Artemisia was so saddened by his death that she had the mausoleum built as a tribute to his life and legacy.

Why is the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus considered the 7th wonder of the world?

The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus is one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The mausoleum was about 45 m (148 ft) high and was decorated with reliefs and statues.

The four sides of the structure were decorated with sculptural friezes, each depicting a battle from the life of Mausolus. The east and west facades depicted the Greeks defeating the Persians, while the north and south friezes depicted the Amazons defeated by the Greeks.

It was so magnificent that it became one of the world’s great monuments. And there is more.

  • The mausoleum’s design was inspired by earlier Egyptian tombs, but it included several new features that made it unique. One of these features was its double-layered structure; most tombs at the time were single-layered.
  • Another innovation was its placement on a hill overlooking the city; most tombs were located outside the city limits.
  • The Mausoleum also differs from other tombs in its use of marble; most tombs were built of cheaper materials such as limestone or brick.
  • Finally, the scale of the structure sets it apart from other ancient tombs; at 45 m (148 ft) it is the tallest structure of its time.

Is the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus still standing?

The Mausoleum was destroyed by earthquakes in the 12th and 15th centuries, but parts of the structure were still standing as late as 1812.

In 1964 and 1965, excavations led by British archaeologist David Hogarth uncovered some of the remains of the mausoleum. Today, only a few fragments remain of this once magnificent structure.

Bodrum Ancient Theatre

Bodrum Ancient Theater, the only surviving ancient structure in Bodrum, is located at the foot of a hill. The ancient theater was restored by Ericsson and Turkcell. Bodrum Ancient Theater, which has the classical theater style of the Greeks, is thought to have been built during the reign of King Mausollos of Halicarnassus. The theater has survived repairs over time and has survived to the present day.

With a capacity of 13 thousand people, the ancient theater hosts many festivals today. During our visit to the ancient theater, we came across the sound systems installed on the stage and the rehearsals of elementary school children. From Sertab Erener to Funda Arar, this is where many open air concerts in Bodrum are held.

Bodrum Antik Tiyatrosu Gezilecek Yerler
Bodrum Antik Tiyatrosu Gezi Yazisi

The ancient theater is right on the side of the road on the main road between Bodrum and Turgutreis. If you want to come here especially on concert days, I would prefer you to come on foot. Because vehicle traffic can be very busy. On non-crowded days you can leave your car for free in the parking lots in front of the theater.

Bodrum Antik Tiyatrosu Gezi Notlari
Bodrum Antik Tiyatrosu Gezisi

Conclusion

Built in the 4th century BC, the mausoleum is an example of ancient Greek architecture and art. The mausoleum’s stunning walls and sculptures tell a story of the skill and creativity of its builders.

Although much of it has been lost to time, what remains is still awe-inspiring today. It is amazing that something so old can have such a huge impact on today’s society!

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