Short History of the Bodrum Region
Bodrum Peninsula is situated on the South West coast of Turkey, surrounded by 32 islands and islets, forming a 174km long coastline situated between the bays of Güllük and Gökova. The Peninsula covers an area of 649km² with a population of 120,000. The city was captured by the Lydians in the first half of the 6th century BC and then by the Persians in 546 BC, after which the Persians took complete control of the Carian region (South West Anatolia).
Halicarnassos fell to the Seljuk Turks in 1071 AD. The city, then known as Petrion, came under Ottoman rule in 1522 AD and the name of the town changed to Bodrum as it is known today.
A main feature is the castle of St Peter (the Egion castle) which was constructed in the 1400s. During the time of the crusades, it served as a place for Christian refugees . It has undergone several changes of use, from a military base, to a prison and even a public bath. The Egion castle has English, French and GermanTowers and today houses one of the most valuable museums in the area. The castle is the focal point of the resort, so whether arriving by day or night, you will see its striking silhouette as you drive into the town. The Amphi-theatre is another fantastic site to be seen sitting on the hillside close to the main route into the resort, another symbol of its historic past. Situated in the hillside, overlooking Bodrum and built in the Carian reign around 330 – 330 BC, the theatre consists of three different sections – a place for the audience, a place for an orchestra and the stage. It became an open-air museum after the excavations in 1973. Today in the summer months, concerts are still held herefor residents and tourists alike.
Bodrum Region Today
Today, Bodrum has changed and grown, and each of the Peninsula towns has its own centre, and hub with restaurants and shops, all of the differing character, with local markets in each of the Peninsula resorts, so no need to travel far for your local fruit and veg. Boat trips are popular excursions here, as there are so many islands to explore and bays in which to swim – usually food and drink is included, and a day out at sea is the perfect way to unwind. Bodrum is one of the three towns with a Marina which hosts the most expensive yachts, a supermarket and some posh boutiques. Bodrum Marina Yacht Club which is open all year round has live music and serves international as well as Turkish cuisine, ideal for both locals and tourists alike.
The seafront has a great selection of bars, cafes and restaurants as well. When night descends, Bodrum lights up with laser shows, the latest hits playing at the discos and on the catamaran, the sailing disco boat. Stroll along the main promenade and you will even find a Starbucks! Bodrum has a Mediterranean climate
. It enjoys average winter highs of 15 °C (59 °F) and in the summer the temperature goes up to 34 °C (93 °F), with very sunny spells. Summers are hot and winters are mild and mostly sunny. The landscape is mostly pine forests, olive and citrus groves plus beautiful evergreens flowering, like bougainvillea and oleander. May 2012 saw the opening of a New International Terminal at Bodrum airport, with state of the art security systems, boarding bridges(replacing the need for passengers to step on to buses) up to date baggage handling equipment, so it is now a much more passenger friendly spacious airport. The terminal will eventually accept over five million passengers. The old terminal is now being used to increase the flow of domestic passengers which is also increasing year on year.
Roads around the Peninsula have all been upgraded to cope with the extra flow of visitors, and the seafront in Bodrum centre has now been made more pedestrian friendly by having a one way system and enlarging all the promenade areas., The area also benefits from new street lighting and the pavements have been laid in marble. Bodrum is home to some of the world’s largest hotel groups and there is something here for everyone. Hilton Group opened its doors in Turkbuku to a new resort and spa on the North of the Peninsula, and lying on the South of the Peninsula is the Kaplinski Hotel, home to the rich and famous, and in fact royalty arrive by private yacht here. Looking around you will see lots of new shopping facilities (malls) being created, the new Midtown Shopping Mall opened in 2012, and houses many of the brand names you would expect, including Mavi, Loft, Lecoste, adidas and many more, along with a large Tesco Express and cinema. A staggering 92 million Euros has been invested here and a large B&Q is to be built on the next site!
The owner of Halikarnos has joined forces with Jade Jagger, daughter of rock star Mick Jagger, to open and design her own restaurant, specialising in French cuisine, called The SecretGarden. Thehe restaurant is part of the huge Halikarnos Night Club , but is designed to offer a peaceful side to the glamourous night club. In 2013 there are plans for a yacht beach club, so Bodrum’s home for the jet set will be complete. Over the years, many a star has graced its scene, from Michael Caine to Mick Jagger to the current on trend DJs.
Yalikavak is positioned on the North of the Peninsula and is host to one of the three marinas in Bodrum. In 2012, the marina capacity was enlarged, and it is now surrounded by high quality boutiques and restaurants. Yalikavak has a small, but busy centre and a harbour where fishing boats moor, and is one of the best known around the Peninsula and could be thought of as the most upmarket resort along the BodrumPeninsula. The wide selection of bars, cafes and restaurants in the town centre and on the seafront attract many locals and tourists alike. Yalıkavak’s history goes parallel with that of Bodrum. The ancient city of Yalıkavak was located inland on one of the hills which is called Sandima and today the remains and the restorations can still be seen. In today’s Yalıkavak, few tombstones and city walls still bear witness to the history of the town. Several old buildings such as old water cisterns and olive oil presses have been restored and are now used as art galleries or showrooms for handwoven kilim/carpet.
Gumusluk is arrived at by driving along stretches of winding roads, and is also steeped in history. Here, there are still a number of reminders of the area’s historical past with the stadium, theatre and walls surviving from ancient Myndos and a Byzantine church, today restored as a cultural centre. On top of the hill is the remains of Kadikalesi (Kadı Castle), a Hellenistic fortification, together with a Roman church and cistern. Nowadays, you can snorkel or scuba dive in the clear waters of Gumusluk and discover for yourself the ancient ruins of Myndos. This is one of the few places on the Peninsula that has been awarded a blue flag. (What does that mean?!) The seafront area here is famous for its seafood restuarants and great tea gardens, the perfect spot for a lovely evening out.
Gumbet, named after the domed water-cisterns that speckle the countryside nearby, is the closest beach to Bodrum, only a 10 minute drive by car – this resort has always been very popular with British holidaymakers, many of whom choose to stay here, close to the beach and venture into Bodrum later at night. Gumbet itself offers a wide choice of lively bars and restaurants, popular with the young crowd. Its long sandy beach is lined with hotels and pensions which attract many young people and watersports enthusiasts, with its large windsurfing school and many diving courses. Other beachfront watersports are also very popular in Gumbet, including parasailing, ringo and water-skiing. Getting to the centre of Bodrum from Gumbet is very easy with regular dolmuş (what is that? Spell it out!) and bus services, as well as a small boat service that runs from the beach.
Torba is a modern village, situatedclose to the main centre of Bodrum. It is a small but notable tourist resort, with several modern hotels, pebbly and sandy beaches and hillsides richly scented with wild herbs. There are remainders of the past well worth seeing, includinga superbly preserved round structure built by the Lelegians more than 2500 years ago, probably a tomb, which crowns a big hill overlooking the village, while to the East of the bay lie the ruins of a Byzantine monastery. Due to its proximity to Bodrum, Torba is a popular swimming and lunch spot. Torba is the port where ferry services between the Bodrum Peninsula and Didyma arrive and depart, and where day excursions can be made to the famed Temple of Apollo. The ferry is also a convenient way of visiting the impressive sites of ancient Miletus and Priene. Frequent minibus connections with Bodrum make these trips and day visits convenient and inviting.
Gundogan, has always been an important town for fishing, sponge diving, olive and tangerine growing. The main body of the town is situated inland on the major highway running between Yalikavak and Golturkbuku. Caves, windmills, cisterns and rock cut monasteries bear witness to the great past of Gundogan. GundoganBeach, which is one of the longest on Bodrum Peninsula, is beautifully situated among the tangerine, olive and pine trees. Since the North of the BodrumPeninsula often has a fresh breeze, many surfers prefer Gundogan. Like the other towns on the BodrumPeninsula, it has a wide selection of bars, cafes and restaurants on the seafront. This is one of the best spots to enjoy both the sunrise and the sunset.
Konacik is just a short dolmus ride from the centre of Bodrum, only 3.5km away. The area is one which is growing in popularity because of its location to the centre of Bodrum. It has its own more traditional centre, complete with market and restaurants. This area still retains a woodland appeal to many, closed in by pine and olive trees, a very natural surrounding, even though you are still inland, and you can see the sea easily from some of the higher points.
Gulluk is a lovely traditional corner of Turkey, located on the MandalyaBay, a traditional fishing village, with a lovely small harbour area to stroll around, flanked by small traditional style restaurants and bars. There is a small ferry which runs across the bay to Iasos daily about three times and day and there are a great selection of fishing trips available. The good thing about Gulluk is that it is only a 10-minute drive from the airport of Bodrum. The dolmus runs from here into Bodrum centre regularly, which makes it a great location for peace and quiet, yet easy to get to the more lively centre should you wish. Like all other resorts around the Peninsula there is always a local market day.
Tuzla can be found close to the airport of Bodrum and only 10 minutes away, from Tuzla is Bodrum’s first Golf Course, Vita Park, a two 18 hole Golf facility, has been developed around nature. The lake is home to more than 260 different species of migrant birds – here you can, see the magnificent flamingos whose home is around the lake. It is also close to the small village of Bogazici where you will find a handful of small shops -a very traditional village with old-fashioned tea shops where you can sit and watch the small fishing boats go by. There is also a good selection of restaurants with everything from fish to pizza to choose from.
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