sights / Historic

Mausoleum information

Bodrum , Turkey
Street Turgutreis Caddesi
admission TL8
Opening hours
8.30am-5.30pm Tue-Sun
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Lonely Planet review

One of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Mausoleum was the greatest achievement of Carian King Mausolus (r 376–353 BC). Although Caria had existed for at least 700 years, with a capital in Mylasa (Milas), Mausolus moved it to Halicarnassus. Before his death, the king had planned his own tomb, to be designed by Pythius (architect of Priene's Temple of Athena). When Mausolus finally died, his wife (and sister), Artemisia, oversaw the completion of this enormous, white-marble tomb topped by stepped pyramids.

Incredibly, the Mausoleum stood relatively intact until the Knights Hospitallers needed building material for the Castle of St Peter; between 1406 and 1522, almost all of it was reused or ground into powder for walls. Luckily, the more impressive ancient friezes were incorporated into the castle walls, while original statues of Mausolus and Artemisia were sent to the British Museum.

Despite thus being non-existent, the site has relaxing gardens, with excavations to the right and a covered arcade to the left – the latter contains a copy of the famous frieze in the British Museum. Four original fragments displayed were discovered more recently. Models, drawings and documents indicate the grand dimensions of the original Mausoleum. A scale model of Mausolus' Halicarnassus and the Mausoleum also stand.

Today, the only ancient elements to survive are the pre-Mausolean stairways and tomb chambers, the Mausolean drainage system, the entry to Mausolus' tomb chamber, precinct wall bits and some large fluted marble column drums.