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The Mausoleum of Halicarnassus

From The Marmara Bodrum
10 Min
27 min
Address Tepecik, Turgut Reis Cd. No:93, 48440 Bodrum/Muğla
Phone +90 (252) 316 12 19

Hours 8:30 AM–5:30 PM

Mausolus was the ruler of Caria around 350 BCE. He was a satrap, or governor, from Persia. While the city of Halicarnassus was thriving before Mausolus, he worked to make the city even grander. He had a new harbor built and added several buildings added throughout the city. With his oversight, he added temples, road systems, and city expansions. With the city’s coffers growing and overflowing, Mausolus planned a tomb for himself and his family. It was an impressive structure built of Anatolian and Pentelic white marble. This completed tomb became known as the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus. 

History of the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus  

The building of the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus began in 367 BCE and was finished by 530 BCE. When Halicarnassus died in 535 BCE, he was placed in the tomb, followed by his wife and extended family.  

Four sculptors worked on the structure, each with their own side. The tomb’s podium measured 125 x 104 ft, with 36 Ionic columns surrounding it. There were 24 steps leading up to the upper-level pyramid. The finished building was the equivalent of a 20-story modern building. Then a six-foot wall was built around the entire structure.  



There were about 100 statutes throughout the structure, some measuring over nine feet tall. These statues were painted in bright colors, making for a stunning visual display. The statues were placed between the columns around the outside and on the steps leading up to the tomb. Carved reliefs adorned the flat surfaces. Adding an extra touch of luxury, metal accents were added to the weapons and horse’s reigns carved into the relief.  

Archaeological Excavations 

British archaeologist Charles Thomas Newton is primarily responsible for excavating the mausoleum. Reliefs and marble that he found at the site were sent to the British Museum. Unfortunately, archeologists at the time were not as concerned about preserving heritage. So, Newton had many of the structural marble blocks shipped out for other building projects. The site was also victim to plunderings that stripped the royal chamber of many of its antiquities.  

Seven Wonders of the World  

The Mausoleum of Halicarnassus is one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Greek historian Herodotus and the scholar Callimachus of Cyrene created lists of the world's wonders. While those lists no longer exist today, other writings reference these original lists. The Mausoleum made the list because of its massive size and dimensions. In addition, it is artistic beauty, and architectural design made it a sight that people traveled from all over to see.  

The Mausoleum of Halicarnassus Today 

Unfortunately, the mausoleum was destroyed by earthquakes from the 11th-15th century C.E. However, while you may not be able to see the original structure in all its glory, much of the ruins remain.  

Some of the original blocks were taken during the building of the Castle of St Peter. The already-formed marble blocks were a natural choice as a building material during the Middle Ages for the knights building the Bodrum Castle.  

Other pieces of the ruins were taken to the British Museum of London to be put on display. Unfortunately, the intact sculptures for the ruins mostly experienced this fate.  

Today, visitors to the original mausoleum site can still see plenty of what remains. The site is an open-air museum with the remaining ruins neatly organized.  

How to Visit  

The site is open Tuesday through Sunday and closed on Mondays. You can visit between 8 am and 5 pm.  

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We do offer valet dry cleaning and laundry services.

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