Saturday, 28 May 2016
AN OLD CASTLE AND A NEW MUSEUM IN BODRUM
There is not as much demand for castles as there used to be, and most of Europe is filled with old fortifications gone to seed. The castle built by the Knights of St. John in the Greek city of Halicarnassus was named for St. Peter (Petronius) and gave its name in time to the city of Bodrum. Bodrum castle was the stealth bomber or aircraft carrier of its day, a striking military innovation that combined French and English castle technology. Those who worked on the castle were guaranteed a place in heaven by the pope, and they earned it by building thick walls of green volcanic stone, supported by marble quarried from the ruins of the mausoleum that had previously occupied the site. Fourteen cisterns in the rock under the castle collected water for use during sieges, and there were 7 towers and 7 gates, each one the responsibility of one of the langues(tongues) or subunits of the order under the command of its own Bailiff. The walls around each of the gates twisted and turned, so that attackers could find no refuge from the projectiles that rained down on them from above, and a wall of carved reliefs on the castle parapet kept out missiles shot by the attackers. A three-story English tower is connected to the castle by a drawbridge on one side but otherwise presents a high rampart.