Little remains of the Mausoleum – the tomb of Mausolus, who ruled the ancient kingdom of Caria from 376–353 BC. But works at the site in modern-day Bodrum could restore it to some of its former glory. As well as excavating and restoring the Mausoleum site, the works will also unearth the route between the tomb and Bodrum Harbour, including the ancient city walls and a 3500-year-old hippodrome.
Before his death, Mausolus planned his own tomb, then when he died, his wife Artemisia oversaw the completion of the enormous, white-marble colonnaded tomb topped by a 24-step pyramid and a quadriga, a four-horse chariot carrying the king. In the late 15th century the Knights Hospitaller found the Mausoleum in ruins, perhaps destroyed by an earthquake.
The only ancient elements to survive are the pre-Mausolean stairways and tomb chambers, the narrow entry to Mausolus’ tomb chamber and a huge green stone that blocked it, the Mausolean drainage system, precinct wall bits and some large fluted marble column drums.
“There are many locals in Bodrum who don’t know that… the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus is listed as one of the Seven Wonders of the World,” said Özay Kartal from the Mediterranean Countries Academy Foundation, who are leading the works. “This is why our priority is to restitute this mausoleum and open a way from the port to this place. Hundreds of thousands of tourists visiting Bodrum return to their countries without seeing it. We, as the foundation, will organise the International Mausolus Workshop in May to provide information about Bodrum’s history with the participation of academics, historians and archaeologists. This workshop will be a very important step leading to the restitution project of the Mausoleum”.