Mausoleum at Halicarnassus

Halicarnassus mausoleum was built for the Carian King Mausolos, who died in Halicarnassus, namely in Bodrum today, in 333 BC. Considered as one of the seven wonders of the world, the mausoleum is a very large tomb that combines Greek architecture with its columns, and Egyptian architecture with its pyramid-shaped roof. All the buildings and monumental graves in the same style that came after him were called mausoleums due to the importance of this particular building.

History of Halicarnassus Mausoleum

Halicarnassus mausoleum was built by Queen Artemis in 325 BC on behalf of her late husband Mozolos. Like other wonders of the ancient world, this work has disappeared too. According to Plinius, Mausoleum is considered one of the seven wonders of the world.

The mausoleum area is organized as an open-air museum today. Once you get your ticket and go inside, a Bodrum style house can be seen on the right. Reliefs, models, drawings, and architectural pieces belonging to the building are exhibited in the tall structure seen on the left.

Characteristics of Mausoleum

Mausoleum, which had base dimensions of 32 x 38 meters, was rising in the northeastern corner of a wide area with a long edge of 242.5 and a short edge of 105 meters. Mausoleum consisted of four sections, as ancient writers say. At the bottom is a high pedestal (podium); there were 36 Ionic columns in the shape of a Greek temple, eleven on the sides and nine on the short sides; there was a 24-steps pyramid-shaped roof on it and the statues of Mausolos and Artemisia in the carriage pulled by four horses at the top.

Halicarnassus Mausoleum in Ancient Texts

Latin writer Plinius gives information about the height of the monument. The height of the Mausoleum was 180 Ionic feet. This is about 55 meters today. It is about the height of a twenty-story apartment in a modern city. This measure is based on the model in the exhibition hall which is included in the ticket price.

Ancient authors note that the architect of the building was Pytheos. Famous Roman architect Vitruvius noted that the four most important sculptors of the 4th century worked in this structure. Skopas in the east, Leokhares in the west, Bryaksis in the north, Timotheos in the south. Bryaksis is a Karian artist. Other artists were brought from Greece. It is said that a four horse-drawn carriage was built by Architect Pytheos. Mausoleum maybe was the all-stars building of its time.

Bishop Eustathios who lived in the 12th century mentions Mausoleum in Bodrum. This shows that this monument has survived for 1500 years. After this date, it is thought that an earthquake destroyed the monument.

What Happened to the Halicarnassus Mausoleum?

In 1402, when Saint-Jean knights came to Bodrum, they found the monument ruined. The knights used the monument as a quarry and removed almost all marbles of Mausoleum and built Bodrum Castle.

Saint Jean knights wrote that they had returned to the castle without entering the original room of Mousolos after finding it, and when they arrived the next day, the burial chamber had been opened and saw precious fabrics and gold jewelry everywhere.

Today, one of the two-ton rectangular blocks covering the entrance of the burial chamber is seen inside the corridor. British researcher Newton took the stone block to its original place during the excavations made here in 1856-1857. He brought the reliefs which he found during the excavation, like the sculptures of Mausolos and Artemisia, and the parts of the four-horse cart to the British Museum.

Today, plaster copies of the reliefs taken from the site and brought to British Museum are exhibited in the semi-closed exhibition hall.

Book Tour Guide to Mausoleum at Halicarnassus

Mausoleum at Halicarnassus can be visited every day of the week except Monday. The entrance fee is 14 Turkish Lira. Halicarnassus Mausoleum is open between 08:30 and 18:00. The site is in the center of the Bodrum district of Muğla city in Turkey today. It is really easy to access to Mausoleum at Halicarnassus with public bus or with a taxi. You can write to me for learning more about Mausoleum at Halicarnassus. Also, you can book a tour guide to Mausoleum at Halicarnassus by contacting me. See you soon, Hasan Gülday.

Hasan Gülday

Hasan Gülday. Professional licensed tour guide working in Turkey.

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