The Best Of Bodrum
A sculpture of a bull’s head at Temple of Apollo in Didyma ancient city

A Journey Through Time: Historical Background of Bodrum

Bodrum has a rich historical background that greatly influences its local culture. With a history dating back thousands of years, the people of Bodrum feel a strong sense of community and take great pride in their heritage. Residents of Bodrum highly value and appreciate their town’s long history.

The history of a city plays an important role in shaping its local culture. It gives a city a unique character, from its architecture and art to its cuisine and festivals. When people share a common history, it creates a sense of community among the residents. The city’s historical background also serves as a wellspring of inspiration for local artists and writers.

But it’s not just about culture and creativity. The history also has a big impact on the local economy. It attracts tourists and travellers, which creates new business opportunities in return, generating revenue for the locals. Bodrum has a fascinating history that makes it charming and attractive today. From ancient times to the present, Bodrum’s history is full of interesting stories and remarkable people.

Appreciating Bodrum’s Rich Historical Background

Bodrum has a rich local history that dates back thousands of years. People have been living here since the Copper Age, which was around 3,500-4,500 BC. Over the years, Bodrum has been influenced by different civilizations like the Persians, Romans, Byzantines, and Ottomans. These civilizations have left their mark on the architecture, traditions, and way of life in Bodrum.

The people of Bodrum are proud of their town’s historical background. But I’ve noticed that there’s a difference in how the locals and the newcomers view history.

An ancient building used as fishing market in Iasos, Kiyikislacik is a clear example of the historical background of Bodrum.
Fishing market at Iasos ancient city at Kiyikislacik reflects historical background of Bodrum.

The locals who were born and raised in Bodrum are especially interested in the recent past. They still remember the population exchange that happened in the early 20th century, or the local heroes of the maritime. These things really intrigue them. On the other hand, the people who have recently moved to Bodrum are more into ancient history.

Before Bodrum became a popular destination, it was just a small fishing and sponge diving town with limited road access. And this wasn’t even that long ago, only about 60-70 years. Their fathers and grandfathers were the local maritime heroes, or they were the ones who were exiled to Bodrum from Crete in the 1920s. So, it’s not just about the historical background of Bodrum, it’s also about the locals’ family histories.

The newcomers, however, are more interested in ancient history. They are usually the history enthusiasts you will encounter at the museums or while discovering the best of Bodrum at the ancient sites.

An event about the history of Bodrum which was took place at Bodrum Castle.
We staged a show at Bodrum Castle about the historical background of Bodrum. I was (on the right) playing the Fisherman of Halicarnassus.

Revealing the Heritage of Bodrum: Exploring the Historical Figures

The locals in Bodrum have a deep appreciation for the historical figures who have left their mark on the town and its way of life. Perhaps this is because these individuals actively contributed to the improvement of daily life. While famous people from ancient times are certainly revered, it is the personalities from the last century who hold a special place in the hearts of the locals.

Throughout history, Bodrum has been home to many influential individuals who have shaped its historical background. One notable figure is Herodotus, a historian often referred to as the Father of History. He was born in Halicarnassus and played an important role in bringing a systematic approach to the science of history. His meticulous work on events and cultures of his time remains our primary source for understanding that era.

Just like Herodotus, there are two other ancient personalities, Mausolus and his wife Artemisia II, have left their marks in various ways. You might have heard of the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus – it’s not only one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, but it’s also a term we use for ancient monuments in general.

The entrance of museum of underwater archaeology with the busts of the Fisherman of Halicarnassus and Herodotus, most important figures in the historical background of Bodrum.
The busts of the Fisherman of Halicarnassus and Herodotus at the Bodrum castle’s museum entrance.

Another remarkable person is Cevat Sakir Kabaagacli, who is lovingly known as the Fisherman of Halicarnassus. This Turkish writer and researcher eventually transformed a fishing village in poverty into a vibrant hub for literature, art, and tourism. His efforts attracted intellectuals and artists from all over the world, putting Bodrum on the map as a centre of creativity and cultural exchange.

Thanks to influential figures like Herodotus, Cevat Sakir Kabaagaçli, and others like Zeki Muren, Bodrum’s historical background and artistic heritage is still cherished and celebrated by both its residents and visitors.

Bodrum Connection: History of Turkey

Turkey is a country that spans two continents, Europe and Asia. It is one of only four countries in the world with this distinction. If you know the other three, feel free to leave a comment below! Turkey begins in Europe and stretches to the westernmost part of continental Asia, which we also know as Anatolia or Asia Minor.

The history of Turkey and the history of humanity follow parallel paths. Anatolia is home to some of the earliest known settlements, including Catalhoyuk. Catalhoyuk is the oldest city in the world, dating back to around 7500 BC. Another remarkable discovery is the Gobeklitepe archaeological site, which has had a profound impact on history. It is the world’s oldest megalith, with its foundation dating back to 9600 BC. Alongside Catalhoyuk and Gobeklitepe, Turkey is home to numerous archaeological sites that provide valuable insight into human civilization.

The wooden chamber of the tomb of Midas in Gordion is an example for the rich historical background of Turkey.
The wooden chamber inside the Midas mound tumulus in Gordion, Ankara. 740 BC.

Turkey has always been a strategic location due to its position as a crossroads between Europe, Asia, and Africa. Throughout history, it has been inhabited by various civilizations, including the Hittites, Phrygians, Lydians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Seljuks, and Ottomans.

We can’t separate the history of Bodrum from the broader history of the country. It played a vital role in maritime trade routes, connecting the Aegean region to different parts of the world. Its strategic location also made it a target for invasions and conflicts throughout history. Understanding the historical background of Bodrum helps us gain a deeper understanding of Turkey’s ancient civilizations, the Persian and Ottoman empires, and the struggles for independence that eventually led to the modern Republic of Turkey.

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The Best of Bodrum

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My name is Akinsal, and I created The Best of Bodrum, a travel blog to help you to get most out of your time in Bodrum and the Aegean Region.

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