Bodrum or Halicarnassus in the old days

Updated: 14 February 2014 Created: 14 February 2014
Bodrum town centre and castleIf it’s not already on your list of places where you might consider buying a second home, buy-to-let home or retirement property, you need to visit Bodrum, Turkey.  Here you will find all of life’s modern amenities sitting side by side with the rich and storied history of Aegean Turkey.  Although the population does swell during the summer vacation months, Bodrum is a vibrant city year around. 

Bodrum operated as a small fishing village for centuries, but was often contested by raiding nations.  Many of these temporary occupants contributed to the city with their home architecture, art and culture. 

If you do nothing else during your first visit to Bodrum Town, take the time to visit the Castle of Saint Peter.  Built by the Knights Hospitaller in 1402, you’ll be able to see the Castle from almost anywhere in the city.  Not only is the castle itself extraordinary, it also houses the Museum of Underwater Archaeology.  Here you’ll be able to see one of the earliest shipwrecks ever discovered.

You should also visit the Bodrum Amphitheatre.  The structure was finished by the Romans and is incredibly well preserved. Even though you are far from anything Dutch, you’ll also find windmills near Bodrum Town.  Many of these are being restored to their original state and they were originally used to grind flour.

The Myndos Gate is a standing reminder of the cost to the city of being an important way point for travellers.  Here, Alexander the Great was one side of an incredibly bloody battle to expel him from the city.
Bodrum has a very spacial place among Turkish elite.  It is probably the only resort town on the Turkish Aegean or Mediterranean coast, where over 80% of all real estate is Turkish owned and Turks are the main spenders. Bodrum is Turkey's most loved second home destination, not necessarily for the foreign buyer but for Turks themselves. The most expensive real estate in Bodrum are owned by Turkish businessmen and celebrities.  This gives Bodrum longevity and makes it far less vulnerable to trend changes in international tourism and overseas property segment.

The Fisherman of HalicarnassusTake foreign buyers out of the equation all together and most high-end developers in Bodrum would not even notice a drop in sales figures. This is a very important inside for overseas property buyers, who look to invest in areas that are set to prosper come what may.  If you own a smart villa in a good spot of Bodrum, you can be sure that it won't stay on the market long should you decide to sell it. You will most probably end up selling it to an Istanbulite, who wants to be close to where the heart of the Peninsula beats.
Bodrum's rise to fame is often associated with Cevat Sakir Kabaagacli, (the Fisherman of Halicarnassus), a well known and much loved Turkish author, who was sent to 'blue exile' in the early 1920's.  The author fell under the spell of Bodrum and settled here after his 3 year exile ended. It is from here that he wrote most of his accredited novels and travel documentaries, which later made their way into modern day Turkish literature and came to be studied at schools all over the country.  

Today, right before you enter the town of Bodrum on your way from Bodrum Milas Airport, the Fisherman of Halicarnassus greets you with a warm WELCOME and these words (direct translation from Turkish) "As you reach this hill top, Bodrum will reveal itself to you, do not think that you will be the same thereafter, just like all those who came before you, you will leave your heart in Bodrum and go". 
The geography of the city has neatly divided the city into two distinct areas.  The east side of the city is where you will find the beach, beachfront hotels and apartments and open-air restaurants and bars.  With the exception of tourists working on their tan, this side of the city doesn’t really come to life until after 10 p.m.  Once the sun sets, the many seafront clubs come to life with lots of music, lots of drinking and lots of dancing.

Marina Yacht Club Bodrum live musicSome of the best clubs include Kuba Bar, the Marina Yacht Club and Halikarnas.  Many of these bars are located on Cumhuriyet Street, also known as Budrum Bars Street.  Kuba Bar is an option if you want to start with dinner and mellow jazz and move to club music as the night gets later.  Originally frequented by sailors, the Marina Yacht Club has become a magnet for tourists and residents looking to party the night away but in a more refined style. Like most Bodrum bars, Marina Yacht Club begins the day as a restaurant and lounge. They serve wonderful seafood entrees, oven baked pizzas and incredible Turkish desserts with local and global jazz and other music artists and groups adding to the atmosphere in three different restaurants.  Of course, as the time gets later, the music volume goes up and so do the hemlines. In summer, there is live music and talented bands at least 5 nights of the week. 

The west side of the city couldn’t be more different than its sister.  This is where the actual Bodrum Town lives, works and plays.  Here you’ll find many upscale global shopping brands, but you’ll also be able to browse tiny family owned shops selling everything from locally produced olive oil to art to clothing.  Mixed throughout are many restaurants and cafes.

For healthcare in Bodrum, there are 4 modern private hospitals.  At German, Universal, Bodrum and Acibadem Hospitals, you may be surprised at the modern equipment and doctors trained around the world.  Private rooms are normal.  If you are simply visiting Bodrum, you might consider travel health insurance and the hospitals have departments who are ready and willing to work with your insurance carrier.  Most travellers who needed medical care also mentioned that the private hospitals have translators available and all of the medical specialists you would expect to find at home are ready to provide world-class care for you or your family member.

If you are visiting in the summer, you might escape the summer afternoon heat by ducking into one of Bodrum’s many shopping malls.  The newly opened Midtown Shopping Centre is a large facility that includes residences, office spaces and plenty of shopping. Oasis is another mall shopping choice.  As with most malls, you’ll find lots of name brand stores, especially the higher end brands and the cool comfort of air conditioning.  The recently opened Avenue Mall features a beautiful clock tower with plenty of shopping, a food court, theatre, ice skating rink and other amenities available to you.

But, you absolutely must enjoy the street shopping as well.  The Bodrum Weekly Market is set up twice each week next to the bus station.  On Tuesdays, you can find clothing, towels and other textiles mixed in with more than a few “knock off” designer items.  On Friday, the market focuses on food, with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.

You should also make time to walk the Old Town Bazaar.  Here you can browse through stalls and shops offering art, clothing, jewellery and tourist items.  The bazaar is parallel to the bars and restaurants that line the east side of Bodrum Town.  Don’t be afraid to haggle a bit over prices as this is half the fun.
Why buy property in Bodrum Town?

For the foreigner thinking about owning real estate, Bodrum is a great choice if you want to enjoy a year round modern Turkish city.  With the restaurants, shopping and healthcare of a modern city, Bodrum Town isn’t for you if you are trying to get away from it all.  Bodrum Town has a pulse, even if you don’t enjoy the late nightlife, but, like all of Turkey, it will welcome you with open arms and help you settle in.

There are still excellent properties for sale in Bodrum Town.  There are several new apartment developments underway and a small number of modern luxury villas also exist.  Generally speaking, due to Bodrum Town being an older settlement, finding modern properties is not an easy task. Most homes in Bodrum Town were built in the 1980's and early 90's before the renaissance of Turkish architecture into luxury and modern. Having said that some new and modern villas are available on the hills surrounding Bodrum Town with splendid views of the castle and the bay. You might even consider purchasing more than one property and operating your own boutique hotel, locally or from home.

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