live blog: bang into bodrum

Situated at the end of a peninsula jutting into the Aegean, Bodrum, Turkey – home of the Greek historian Herodatus – is these days better known as a coastal holiday resort. In ancient times the town was called Halicarnassus – famous for the Mausoleum of Mausolos, one of the original seven wonders of the world. Destroyed by successive earthquakes, the Mausoleum today lies in ruins. Of interest however is the fortress of Bodrum Castle, which overlooks the harbor. Built by the same Knights who later fled to Malta via Rhodes, the castle has been turned into a museum of underwater archaeology, with a collection of amphoras, ancient glass, bronze, clay, and iron items recovered from ancient shipwrecks in the Aegean Sea. It’s also a great place to sip a Turkish coffee.

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live blog: knights of the rhodes table

The biggest medieval city in Europe, the picturesque old town of Rhodes is an unexpected delight. A rabbit’s warren of narrow streets and buildings of traditional architecture, much of the town as it appears today was built by the Knights of St. John at the end of the Byzantine era. Following the conquest of the Holy Land by Islamic forces, the crusading Knights retreated to Rhodes, over which they claimed sovereignty, fortifying the northern tip of the island with the castle, towers, bridges, and gates that still stand. The Knights would later move again, weathering a name change and establishing a more famous state on the island of Malta. What they left behind saw an invasion of the Turks, who built mosques, public baths and mansions for the new patrons, followed by Italian colonizers after the fall of the Ottoman Empire, and British bombs during World War II. A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1988, it’s a minor miracle so much of the town’s architecture has managed to survive 700 years of relentless give and take. For that, the flaneur in me was quite grateful this afternoon.

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