Bodrum Castle has eye on UNESCO World Heritage list
MUĞLA – Anadolu Agency
AA PhotoBodrum Castle, the symbol of the popular touristic town of Bodrum in Turkey’s western province of Muğla, is one of the 10 new places proposed to the World Heritage Tentative list, aiming to enter UNESCO’s World Heritage list.
The historical castle is particularly popular today for its Underwater Archaeology Museum open to visitors.
Muğla Culture and Tourism Director Veli Çelik said the castle is “the symbol of the town” and today served as the Underwater Archaeology Museum.
“The castle is located on a rock between two harbors. It was constructed by the medieval Knights of Saint Jean. Bodrum Castle was actually an island in the ancient era and then turned into a peninsula connected to the city. It makes a great contribution and adds value to the Bodrum Peninsula,” Çelik added.
The castle opened as a museum in 1964 and its Underwater Archaeology Museum was opened in 1984.
“Among the 3 million foreigners visiting Muğla every year, nearly 1 million come to Bodrum for touristic purposes. Around 35-40 percent of Bodrum’s visitors come to the Bodrum Castle. Surface survey, restoration and restitution works have been carried out by the Culture and Tourism Ministry since 2014. Works will continue this year and also in 2017. When the works are finished, the Bodrum Castle will gain international legitimacy if it is included in the permanent list of UNESCO. Then we will be able to use international funds for the protection of this cultural heritage,” Çelik said.
Castle served as a prison for 20 years
The castle was captured by the Ottomans after the siege of Rhodes by Suleyman the Magnificent in 1522, and it served as a prison between 1895 and 1915, when it was abandoned.
“The Bodrum Castle covers an area of 33,000 square meters. It is nearly 47 meters in height. It has five towers – known as the English, German, French, Italian and Spanish towers – where gifts were offered to the knights. The highest tower is the French one, rising to 47 meters above sea level,” Çelik said.
He added that Muğla and its districts were home to many ancient sites and historical structures listed by the UNESCO, and that the city was a “UNESCO-patented” one thanks to its cultural heritage.
“Our cultural heritage on either permanent or tentative lists of UNESCO receive support and protection from various international funds. This helps accelerate works in other regions,” Çelik stated.
Bodrum Mayor Mehmet Kocadon said the Bodrum Castle “added great value to the town.”
“Its inclusion in the World Heritage Tentative list has made lots of people interested in history and tourism become more curious about the Bodrum Castle,” Kocadon added.