The Central and Southern Aegean Coast: Places to Explore

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Bodrum and the Bodrum Peninsula

Bodrum, known as Halicarnassus in antiquity, is one of Turkey's leading resorts. The modern town stretches along the shores of two crescent-shaped bays and has for years been the favorite haunt of the Turkish upper classes. Today thousands of foreign visitors come here, too, and the area is bursting with hotels, guest houses, cafés, restaurants, and discos. It's still beautiful, though, with gleaming whitewashed buildings covered in bougainvillea and unfettered vistas of the sparkling bays.

Founded around 1000 BC, Halicarnassus was one of the first Greek colonies in Asia. The northern cities of the Aegean formed the Ionian League, but those farther south—Halicarnassus, Kos, Rhodes, Knidos, Lalysos, Lindos, Camiros—joined the Dorian Federation. Halicarnassus reached its height under Mausolus, who ruled from 377 BC to 353 BC as a satrap (governor) of what was then a distant outpost of the far-flung Persian Empire. After his death, his wife (who was also his sister), Artemisia, succeeded him. On learning that a woman ruled Halicarnassus, Rhodes sent its fleet to seize the city, only to be promptly—and soundly—defeated.

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