Bodrum’s top 8 famous residents help you plan your visit

By: Annie Onursan

  1. Herodotus wouldn’t recognise Bodrum as his birthplace Halicarnassus, but I’m sure he’d send you off to the 8 Lelegian towns around the Bodrum peninsula, to savour what life was like in the 5th century BC. Make an easy start by visiting Pedasa above Konacik, a well signposted road now leads almost all the way to the site, or head out to Yalıçiftlik and take a left turn to Alazeytin to walk around the ruined fort of Syangela. If feeling exceptionally fit, carry on over the mountain towards Etrim and walk up to Theangela. Which ever site you choose, you will be transported back to times when Persians ruled the land and pirates dominated the seas and the only safe places to live were on top of steep hills where you could see the enemy approach your thick defensive walls.

    View from Syangela
    View from Syangela

  2. Mausolus would insist that you stayed in the centre of Bodrum. He had no truck with the outlying towns and in the 4th century BC insisted the residents move to Halicarnassus, his new Carian capital city. His wife/sister made sure that Mausolus would never be forgotten by building such a magnificent burial chamber for him that his Mausoleum became one of the Seven Wonders of the World and gave us a new word. Visit the site on Turgutreis Caddesi, and decide whether you want to sign the petition to bring the marble friezes and statue of Mausolus back to his home town from the British Museum .

  3. Alexander the Great spent a lot of time staring at the walls of Halicarnassus as he laid siege to the city in 334/3 BC You too can follow the intermittent line of the walls which interweave with modern streets and carry on up the hillside overlooking the modern town. Eventually, like Alexander you will find the Myndos gate on the west side of Bodrum. This well restored monument was the scene of Alexander’s successful breaching of the city’s defences and the remains of the ancient moat are still visible. Alexander won’t have such good memories of Myndos; he tried to invade the town but the locals fought him off. The present day residents of modern Gümüşlük are much more friendly and as the most unspoilt village on the peninsula, it is worth a visit. Those on a limited budget may want to check the prices before choosing a seafront restaurant, as the stunning views don’t come cheap.

    The Myndos Gate
    The Myndos Gate

  4. Jumping the centuries, when The Knights of St John started building in the early 15th century AD, they made sure that their legacy would define modern Bodrum to this day. As you crest the hill on the main road from the airport, their magnificent Castle on the seafront draws the eye both day and night. No visit to Bodrum should ever be considered without spending a day in the museum in the castle. Reconstructions of ancient wrecks, beautiful gold and glass jewellery and the tomb of the Carian Princess are the highlights and the achievements of both land-based and underwater archaeologists are awe-inspiring.

  5. Neyzen Tevfik, born in Bodrum in 1879, musician and poet and most famous master of the Turkish woodwind – the ney, would certainly direct visitors to the varied cultural entertainments in Bodrum. Art lovers can visit a multitude of painting and ceramic exhibitions in galleries in Oasis Shopping Mall, the Castle, the Ottoman tower and many more venues spread over the peninsula. This summer, the Gümüşlük Classical Music Festival will celebrate its 10th anniversary and yacht marinas have ambitious music programs. Try and catch a ballet in the atmospheric theatre next to the castle. I’m sure Neyzen’s spirit was in the audience watching Carlos Acosta dance in Bodrum.

    March Anemones
    March Anemones

  6. The Fisherman of Halicarnassus was exiled to Bodrum as a punishment but fell in love with the village and returned to live. As a respected author, he popularized the place amongst intellectuals and was responsible for the awakening of this small fishing village. He’d have you chartering a locally built wooden yacht , gulet, along the coast to experience the clear turquoise waters and sheltered bays of the now famous Blue Voyage. As a lover of nature, he would also encourage a Spring visit to experience the exquisite scent of the citrus gardens and the multi coloured glory of the March anemones.

    The turquoise waters of the Blue Cruise
    The turquoise waters of the Blue Cruise

  7. Walk up the hill from the Halikarnas Disco and you will find yourself on Zeki Muren Street. This larger than life singer, composer and actor was much loved in Bodrum. His flamboyant dress, bouffant hair style and in later years, heavy make up, paved the way for the more relaxed attitudes enjoyed in Bodrum compared to other Turkish resorts. Visit his house on his own street, now turned into a museum, spend a few evenings on Bodrum’s bar street with a rose on your table as Zeki had and pay a visit to Badakçı Bay by small day-trip boat, in homage to Zeki Bey’s favourite destination.

  8. And finally, stand between the Tepecik Mosque and the Bodrum Marina with your back to the castle and stare at the massive white house which stands tastefully proud in front of you. Here Ahmet Ertegun, founder of Atlantic records entertained the likes of Princess Margaret , Mick Jagger and Rudolf Nureyev. Ahmet bey would have you rent one of the many large villas on the peninsula, invite all your friends and enjoy Bodrum’s distinctive air, that once tasted, is never forgotten and …party.

    Following ancient footsteps in Bodrum Castle
    Following ancient footsteps in Bodrum Castle

About the author

Expat Blog ListingAnnie Onursan is a British expat living in Turkey. Blog description: There are plenty of very good blogs detailing the ex-pat journey through modern Turkey. The aim of this one is to catch sight of past Turkey through my experience of re-settling in modern Bodrum.
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Contest Comments » There are 66 comments

Jacqui wrote 11 years ago:

Great article Annie. Bringing history alive! We've never been to Bodrum but must try to make the trip very soon.

Maureen wrote 11 years ago:

I've learned there is so much more to Bodrum than beaches and bars! Thanks Annie! On my next trip I'll be sure to include trips to the places you mentioned!

Justine Ickes wrote 11 years ago:

What a terrific and well-researched post, Annie. I've always wondered what other famous people hailed from Turkey, besides Ataturk. ;-) I like how you wove together mini-biographies of each person with a glimpse of modern Bodrum and its environs. Cheers!

Sue Watt wrote 11 years ago:

From Kath's twin sister - fascinating article! First went to Bodrum when we were 16, would love to go back...

Eileen Coldwell wrote 11 years ago:

A very interesting and knowledgeable article. It is a pleasure to read something so well thought out, structured, and yet fun at the same time. We need more articles like this to keep history alive and make it accessible to a wider audience.

Helen Sawyer wrote 11 years ago:

Will have to come back and see the things we missed when we lived there! What a great way to look at bodrum in a new (or old) way

Serap wrote 11 years ago:

It was a fascinating read. I have a holiday home in Yalikavak and reading this blog has made me want to visit Zeki Muren's museum which I didn't know existed and he is a larger than life musician of my parents generation and still occasionally like to listen to. The recent history resonates and I'm familiar with and ancient history is beguiling as its written style lets your imagination wonder. Amazing I want more!

Mary Bryce wrote 11 years ago:

I loved this fascinating blog, so unexpected and inspiring because it gives so much historical context! Now I really will have to come to Bodrum and explore thoroughly - and I WILL know where to begin!

Anastasia wrote 11 years ago:

Good Luck Annie! Yours is the best! Very well written and made me wanna visit Bodrum as soon as possible, have never been there before!

Erica wrote 11 years ago:

Love reading your Blog.....and about Bodrum. This is well written, very informative and I learned something new again from you...Hope to visit Bodrum soon.

Nat wrote 11 years ago:

I have learned something new Annie. Did not know about all these famous past residents. Great article

Janice Whelan wrote 11 years ago:

This is a fascinating article, making the people and the places really come alive. What an effective approach, looking at Bodrum through the eyes of these hsitorical characters. I love it.

Linda Kaya wrote 11 years ago:

Annie is so knowledgable when it comes to the history and historical sites in Turkey. Her blog is so interesting, and every post leaves you waiting for the next one.

Julia Cooke wrote 11 years ago:

I love how you structured this: so informative and easy to read. A journey through history bidding you to come and discover more. Looking forward to your next posts. Fantastic.

Teoman wrote 11 years ago:

Great idea for a guide. I'm walking very step with you.

Alan Fenn wrote 11 years ago:

. . nicely constructed and novel approach to the post Annie - informative too. Good luck in the comp. :-)

Jolee And Mark wrote 11 years ago:

What a lovely way to think about your town - so imaginative and thought-provoking. We learned so much not only about Bodrum's history, but about the very interesting people that lived there. It sure got us thinking about visiting sometime soon. Good luck - you deserve it.

Ozlem's Turkish Table wrote 11 years ago:

This is a wonderful article Annie, and I learned so much about Bodru, and its famous residents throught those years, very inspiring to go and visit Bodrum :) Best of luck, our support is behind you : ) x Ozlem

Julia wrote 11 years ago:

I loved this post about Bodrum. A written guide should be easy to read, well constructed and, most importantly, informative and entertaining. Annie's definitely done all of that and we'll be using this post next time we go to the area...hopefully, that's soon. :)

Dee Ready wrote 11 years ago:

This article on Bodrum made me want to take a vacation and visit the history-filled town and area. It's so well-written and enticing with its hints about food and music and its concerns for my pocketbook. I so enjoy learning about anceint history and this article gives me tempting tidbits that make me want to contact a travel agent and get on the plane! Never before have I wanted to visit Turkey--not even when I've read about Troy. But this article has changed all that! Thank you for the wonderful overview of this area of the world.

Kath Davies wrote 11 years ago:

Great background information to some familiar and not-so-familiar places around Bodrum.

Theanne wrote 11 years ago:

flying to Turkey to follow these 8 footsteps is not an option right now. however I'm intrigued by the descriptions and directions. perhaps it is time I did some research myself to learn more about Bodrum!

Martha wrote 11 years ago:

Such fun to read your list, Annie. May many come and revel in the wonders that the area holds!

Helen Leicester wrote 11 years ago:

It's been over 25 years since I was last in Bodrum; I so want to come back again to visit (and revisit) some of the wonderful sites you mention Annie(you are the natural successor to the late, great George Bean)!

Paddy Hartnett wrote 11 years ago:

Great article. There is so much to say about Bodrum and its various residents ((past and present)and most other articles I've read on the subject are, well, dull. Good to have a well crafted and well chosen list from someone who clearly knows her topic - and with the kind of natural writing I enjoy reading. Would love to see more of the writer's work, particularly her take on other Southern Turkish highlights.

Jack Scott wrote 11 years ago:

A great article. Few people can rival Annie's encyclopaedic knowledge of this historic corner of Anatolia where the past lies casually underfoot and around every corner.

Beverley Iren wrote 11 years ago:

Brilliant Annie - cant wait to try some of the walks on our return.

APRIL wrote 11 years ago:

Great post as usual Annie! You have taken me to Bodrum in my mind!

Helen Devries wrote 11 years ago:

This is a superb way to introduce Bodrum ancient and modern - and not just the information, the easy style which floats on the top of so much knowledge. It's enough to make me want to buy a ticket....

Michael West wrote 11 years ago:

A fantastic blog idea, it shows great imagination. Never been to Bodrum, although living in Turkey for eleven years, however after reading this makes me want to get asap.

Hilary wrote 11 years ago:

Wonderfully inspiring! Plenty to do next time we visit Bodrum. And now the weather is improving we are hoping to come soon.

Perpetua wrote 11 years ago:

I've been following Annie's blog for some time now, revelling in its mixture of ancient history and archaeology and the quirks and delights of daily life in modern Turkey. This super article, revealing the many attractions of Bodrum through the lives of its famous inhabitants makes me want to flee snow-bound Britain for the warmth, colour and fascinating history of Turkey - with Annie as my guide of course. :-)

Angela Croal wrote 11 years ago:

What a great blog, i've learnt so much already

LINDA M JAMES wrote 11 years ago:

Hi Annie As a fellow writer [ and traveler] I really enjoyed your article; well written and fascinating! Good luck in the competition. You deserve to win! All the best Linda

Jane Baxter wrote 11 years ago:

Excellent - for a non history buff what a lovely way of explaining it all.

Esi wrote 11 years ago:

Fantastic for people like me who don't like history.

Marion Adams wrote 11 years ago:

Great blog for information on Bodrum on what to see. Your layout was interesting and easy to read. Liked the coloured photographs in between too. Very good history lesson all in all. Congratulations.

Sandra Scotland wrote 11 years ago:

Thanks for all that great information. I definitely need to explore more!

Fiona J Thomas wrote 11 years ago:

Well done Annie - your blog is a good read. I love to hear how others perceive the wonders and challenges of the Peninsula as well as share their knowledge. Goog luck in the competition. See you at B-fit soon I hope.

Kirsty Elsever wrote 11 years ago:

Great article Annie. I have to say that up until now I have kind of taken Bodrum for granted. This emphasizes the history, beauty and talent we have here on our doorstep - I need to go out and enjoy it more - Thanks

Peter Dick wrote 11 years ago:

It is quite a feat to turn out a well presented blog like this, as it involves research coupled with a writing skill that manages to hold the reader's interest. Many if not most blogs I begin to read have started to blur my attention after a line or two. In this case I soon found myself sold on the content, and wanting to read on. The trick of course is to know your subject and hence what you are writing about, which is where Annie scores as she has had a long term interest in the history of Bodrum,its peninsular and its peoples. In fact Annie has been the main source over the years of most of what we know about Bodrum. Well written and well sub-titled her blog even has well chosen photographs, placed to provide the continuity that holds it all together. I believe it was J.P. Snow who once said, that if you do what you do to the best of your ability then you will develop 'style'. Well done Annie, you certainly have 'style'. Our verdict is 'Blog Photo-Journalism' at its very best. What is more, Annie's style says that her next blog will be just as readable. Peter and Jeni

Sarah wrote 11 years ago:

It's great!

Jess wrote 11 years ago:

Good luck Annie. It's amazing read :) hope to see you soon xx

Derek Sadler wrote 11 years ago:

well written--very interesting--wish i could be there to walk the walks with you-

Lindsey wrote 11 years ago:

Great article and very creative approach! So interesting to read about all the historical characters that visited the Bodrum area.

Neil Graham wrote 11 years ago:

Great article Annie

Leanne Graham wrote 11 years ago:

Well done Annie. Really enjoyed your article, as I always enjoy your blog. Good luck, Leanne

Greg House wrote 11 years ago:

We really should leave our hill sometime and have a look around as there's so much to see! Keep up the good work

Paul Hutchinson wrote 11 years ago:

Well done Annie. This is a very well thought out brief resume of the history of our town.

Croixblanches wrote 11 years ago:

A really good read,and certainly a novel way to present Bodrum's history and places of interest.Good luck in the competition!

Fiona Karabagli wrote 11 years ago:

Written with a flowing pen, easily capturing the reader with short, knowledgeable information. Well done Annie, brought home great memories.

Karen Arslanseren wrote 11 years ago:

Well done Annie, as usual a very interesting read about a place that I am passionate about, well written and informative.

Anna Serdar Erdamar wrote 11 years ago:

I really look forward to Annies pieces,her style invites the reader to stick around and see what’s coming next.

Ann Marie wrote 11 years ago:

Very well written Annie.. I will have to re visit all these places now with a fresh eye.

Anna Serdar Erdamar wrote 11 years ago:

I really look forward to Annies pieces,her style invites the reader to stick around and see what’s coming next.

Leslie wrote 11 years ago:

I vote for Annie Onursan as Bodrum's 9th top resident, for her stylish, witty, insightful and useful writing.

Chris Drum Berkaya wrote 11 years ago:

Annie you are going from strength to strength with your blog, and this wonderful take really sums up your word power and grasp of the deeper story of Bodrum. This is a great blog to get people up and out to 'see' what Bodrum really has to offer! More please!

Tamer Çelensü wrote 11 years ago:

I'm sure she will win in the end because she knows Bodrum very well and she has a heart beating for us Turks ! Thank you Annie for all the good things you have done for us and the rest of the World !

Charlotte Tolstrup wrote 11 years ago:

I so enjoy your blog Annie. Please keep it going and best of luck in the compition.

Idske wrote 11 years ago:

Loved reading about the fascinating history of the area in and around Bodrum. Makes it sound like a very appealing place to explore!

Elaine Akalin wrote 11 years ago:

Really interesting post from a different point of view. Brings history alive!

Ibrahim Kurtulus wrote 11 years ago:

Well done Annie. Its amazing that a British expatriate and not a Turk doing this and doing it so well.

Ibrahim Kurtulus wrote 11 years ago:

Well done Annie. Its amazing that a British expatriate and not a Turk doing this and doing it so well.

Roving Jay wrote 11 years ago:

Annie ... great article. There is so much local history in Bodrum, it's great that you just whizzed us through hundreds of decades of it in such a captivating style. I wish I'd seen this article before I wrote my History of Bodrum section for my Travel Guide - I would have asked you to write a guest chapter! This is like a History Meze ... just enough information to whet the appetite, but not so much that it dampens the enthusiasm for discovering more history for yourself. Keep on writing... and I'll keep ready.

Nikki wrote 11 years ago:

A very interesting and well written article. It was partly my fascination with Herodotus that brought me to Bodrum the first time. So it is refreshing to read an article focusing on the historical characters of Bodrum and not just the touristy bits. Well done Annie, it brings Bodrum alive.

Netia Piercy wrote 11 years ago:

Bodrum through the ages in five minutes flat..just enough to wet your appetite to see what's there and to find out more. It's colourful Annie don't stop writing.

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