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News from a wargamer with a special interest in the military history of the Balkans. It mainly covers my current reading and wargaming projects. For more detail you can visit the web sites I edit - Balkan Military History and Glasgow & District Wargaming Society. Or follow me on Twitter @Balkan_Dave
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Wednesday 28 September 2022

Castle of Saint Peter, Bodrum

We left Kos yesterday on the ferry for Bodrum on the Turkish coast. For me, the highlight was the Castle of St. Peter built by the Knights of St John or Hospitallers in the 15thC. Bodrum was known in ancient times as Halicarnassus. The city was once home to the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, also known as the tomb of Mausolus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The museum inside the castle includes the old city's remains and the award-winning underwater archaeology museum.

Like Kos, the castle is built on a natural spit of land that creates the harbour and is the site of a Greek fortification and a small Seljuk castle in the 11thC. The construction of the castle began in 1404. They used squared green volcanic stone, marble columns and reliefs from the nearby Mausoleum of Halicarnassus to fortify the castle. Medieval vandalism at its worst! In fairness, they did a pretty good job of it.

As with similar castles on Kos and Rhodes, each langue of the Order had its own tower, each in its own style with its own coats of arms above the gate. Each was responsible for maintaining and defending a specific portion of the fortress and manning it with sufficient numbers of knights and soldiers. There were seven gates leading to the inner part of the fortress. The German knight architect Heinrich Schlegelholt designed it with many twists and turns to make life difficult for attackers.

Henry IV of England's Coat of Arms above the English Tower.

The land fortifications were strengthened to cope with the advent of gunpowder. You can see the more rounded towers from this angle.

However, with the fall of Rhodes, the castle was too isolated to hold, and it surrendered to Süleyman the Magnificent in 1523. The Ottomans didn't need to do much with it other than the obligatory minaret. There is also a small display of cannons inside the castle.

The underwater archaeology exhibition features a replica of one of the boats they recovered and its contents. Typical trading commodities and a collection of weapons.

As we left on the ferry, the sun caught the castle, picking it out brilliantly. The Türkiye museums authorities have done a great job with this site. This is no ruin. The castle is restored and acts as a museum in its own right. Highly recommended.

1 comment:

  1. Very nice. I do love walking round ruined castles - ideally when the rest of “Joe Public” are out of my camera shot - and just imagining what it must have been like “way back when…”.