The Mausoleum of King Mausolos


Unfortunately there is not a lot left to see of this ancient and once magnificent tomb. It was named as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World but now one must rely on imagination and models.
The background to the Mausoleum is worth relating here. Following the Persian invasion the kingdom of Caria in the western part of Asia Minor (Turkey) was ruled by Mausolos from 377 BC. During his reign Mausolus transferred his capital from Mylasa to Halicarnassus. His ideas were never on a small scale and he set out to create a worthy capital city taxing the inhabitants heavily to cover the costs of fortifications and other grand projects!
Mausolos was married to his sister (a common practice for rulers in those days) Artemisia and they ruled until his death in 353 BC. Although brokenhearted, Artemisia set about the building of a tribute to Mausolos. This was to be the finest tomb in the known world.
The Mausoleum, standing at over 50 metres in height, is described as being an enormous white marble tomb with ionic columns to form a temple with a stepped pyramid roof topped with a carriage, containing statues of Mausolos and Artemisia, drawn by four horses. This stood relatively intact for almost 19 centuries until an earthquake in 1304 destroyed it and then it was further broken up in 1522 by the Knights Hospitaller using the pieces as building material for the Castle.
The site has pleasant gardens with excavations to the right and a covered arcade to the left. The arcade contains a copy of the famous frieze mainly recovered from the castle walls. The original was sent to the British Museum in London in 1846. Four original fragments on display were discovered more recently.
Mausolos' name is now associated with all stately tombs through the modern word Mausoleum. Despite the lack of the original tomb, this site is well worth a visit.

Opening Hours: Tuesday to Friday
Payment: Cash
Entrance Fees: 10 YTL

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