Bodrum itself is all things to all men. A whitewashed fishing village until the early 1970s, it is now Turkey's hippest resort, attracting poets, artists and singers of international fame to its restaurants and nightclubs. It centres on a medieval castle and ancient harbour, and with the ruins of ancient Halicarnassus a few feet below the surface it sends a shiver down the spine of history lovers. It was here, in the 4th century BC, that Mausolus ruled on behalf of the Persians and here, on his death, that his wife and sister Artemisia built his tomb, and a new word, mausoleum, passed into the language.

The mausoleum of Halicarnassus was one of the Seven Wonders of the World, a temple - like structure set on a massive base, some 87 metres high in total, with reliefs and statuary all over it. In its day it was the first thing a sailor would see on approaching the city, and it was this that attracted the most famous of the ancient Greek sculptors, Praxiteles, to these shores. All that is left today are the foundations and a few pieces of sculpture.

The co-existence of ancient history and a pellucid sea has allowed Bodrum another speciality: it has become a centre for underwater archaeology. Bodrum Castle, built by the Knights of St John in the 15th century, shelters a fascinating museum, partly devoted to marine archaeology, with Mycenaean amphorae, gold medallions, copper ingots, the hull of a Byzantine ship and a large quantity of fine ancient glass all excavated from the sea floor. Elsewhere the museum displays a model of Queen Ada, sister of Mausolus, friend of Alexander the Great and namesake of the Queen Ada Hotel, decked in her own jewellery. Her skeleton was recently excavated and her features have been recreated using pathology techniques more usually associated with police forensic work.

Map - Byzantine Chapel - Halicarnassus
Ionian Coast - Inner Ionia - Carian Coast