Turkish Culture & History
Religious festivals in Bodrum are celebrated in accordance with the Muslim Lunar calendar. The biggest festival is Ramadan which is generally marked with a month of fasting and ends with Seker Bayram or Candy Festival, this is celebrated in October and is a festival of feasting and eating sweets. Next comes Kurban Bayrami, this somewhat gruesome ‘festival of sacrifice’ is a four-day festival, generally held in February, which honours the sacrifice of Abraham for his son Isaac with the killing and butchering of a sheep. A portion of the meat is then given to the poor and the other days are spent visiting family.
Bodrum Bicycle Festival: this is held in mid-May and is organized by the Bodrum Nature Sports Club. Cyclists follow almost every bicycle trail and finish up at Quay centre. There are also acrobatics, dance shows and live performance throughout the day.
Bodrum Cup Wooden Yacht Regatta: this fun regatta is held in October and attracts traditional wooden sailing boats from all over the world. Professionals as well as amateurs can attend and the competition is becoming more and more popular.
International Bodrum Film Festival: this is held in early June at Bodrum Castle. There is an awards ceremony, concerts and film screenings.
A history of Bodrum
Bodrum was originally known as Halicarnassus and has been home to many civilisations throughout history. According to Homer’s epics, Carians and Lelegs lived in Halicarnussus, which was a city in the Carian islands. The famous historian Herodotus, who was born here, records that the city was rebuilt in the 7th century BC, by émigré Dorians. The Persians who invaded Anatolia in 546 BC also invaded Halicarnussus which was then governed by Persian princes.
During King Mausolos’ time the town flourished as the capital of Caria with large walls and many grand architectural projects. Upon his death a temple-like tomb, the Mauseoleum, was built in his honour and became one of the Seven Wonders of the World until it was destroyed by an earthquake around 1700 years later.
Caria eventually surrendered to and was burnt by the armies of Alexander the Great. After being reigned over by the Egyptians, the Romans, the sailors of Rhodes and the Kingdom of Pontus it was given up to the Turkish Mentesogullari state in the second part of the 13th century.
At the beginning of the 15th century the Knights of Rhodes ruled the peninsula and in 1402, understanding the importance of Halicarnassus, they built the Bodrum Castle (St. Peter Castle) using the remains of the Mauseoleum. In 1522 Süleyman the Manific made it part of the Ottoman Empire.