Bodrum is a town on Turkey’s southern Aegean coast that attracts visitors from all over the globe.
Bodrum is the site of Halikarnassus, the famed Mausoleum of Halikarnassus (constructed after 353 BCE) and one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Unfortunately, earthquakes in the Middle Ages damaged the old monument; some parts may be viewed at London’s British Museum.
Bodrum is an interesting destination because it offers a delightful contrast between the Ancient city – where there are discernible remains everywhere – and a playground for wealthy Turks and a diverse range of international guests. It is a center of the Turkish tourism sector and the market town for the Bodrum Peninsula, which comprises of a variety of towns and villages nestled along the coast. Until the 1960s, Bodrum was a fishing community, but that changed when a group of Turkish intellectuals convened and wrote about it. The most renowned of them was Cevat Sekir, dubbed “The Fisherman of Hallikarnassus,” an Oxford-educated Turk who spent his time to writing and planting various plants and trees that still dot the town’s landscape. His book, ‘Blue Voyage,’ which describes gullet cruises along the Turkish coast, and his descriptions of the awe-inspiringly pure Blue Seas of the Aegean and the joys of a trip around the shores near to Bodrum, inspired a new generation of people to recreate his travels. As a result, Bodrum has flourished as a sailing destination, and because to its warm but not humid environment, it has become a favourite destination for travelers who like the mix of ancient history and all the normal tourist trappings. There are several stores and restaurants, ranging from simple cafés to superb Turkish cuisine served by a diverse assortment of wait personnel.
Modern Bodrum, paradoxically, seems to have two opposing sides.
The east part of town includes a long, narrow, but decent beach that was added in recent years, with the government attempting and mostly succeeding in establishing a nice beach. Behind the beach were all the traditional Mediterranean resort town bars, restaurants, and nightclubs. This translates to open-fronted bars that don’t come alive until 10 p.m., when everyone goes out. It has some great beach frontage pubs (for example, Cafe Del Mar is a relatively relaxed out and attractive bar with attractive employees, so that helps), but it also has some bad ones if you don’t like the heavy drinking culture of certain visitors. It does have several decent clubs. The obvious one is Halikarnas, which is enormous (4000 people). It is also largely outside and holds foam parties on a regular basis.
The west side of town is the other half of town. This is mostly focused on the Marina and Yacht Club. Life is a bit more calm here, with stores mostly catering to tourists who have stepped off their boats. Expensive stores with good wine and olive oil, as well as the required Helley Hanson to buy your new jacket. If you seek hard enough, you can find some decent restaurants as well as some fine clothing stores. Being located on the seafront raises the costs, as it does in all resorts. There is a fantastic feeling in the evenings as residents and visitors alike appear to promenade along the sea front.
There are various cultural events, most notably the Ballet Festival in August, as well as a large choice of pop performances at the Castle or at the Amphitheatre, which has just been rebuilt after being erected over 2,000 years ago.