A Heraldic Tour of the Castle of Saint Peter, Bodrum (Turkey)

Bodrum is the modern name of the ancient Halicarnassos. It is on the Western coast of Turkey, on a long peninsula, not far from Rhodes. After the fall of Smyrna (Izmir) to Tamerlane in 1402, the knights of Saint John in Rhodes decided to replace it with a stronghold on the Anatolian mainland in Bodrum. Building began almost immediately under the direction of the German architect Heinrich Schlegelholt. The knights held it until Rhodes itself fell to the forces of Süleyman II the Magnificent in 1522, at which point Bodrum was evacuated.

The castle is in excellent condition is now houses a remarkable museum (with exhibits on underwater archaeology). The walls of the castle are studded with some 249 coats of arms. A lot of the stones used in the construction come from the tomb of king Mausolus (†353 BC). One of the Seven Wonders of the world, its massive construction survived for centuries until an earthquake brought it down in medieval times. The knights used the ruins as a quarry. While reinforcing the castle in 1522, they even discovered the funerary chamber of the king, whose treasures were quickly looted. Almost nothing remains on the site of the Mausoleum, but the frieze which decorated the castle was taken to London in the 1830s, and smaller architectural elements still remain, their white marble readily visible.

[an error occurred while processing this directive] Last modified: Aug 11, 2002