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Monday, 1 October 2012

Fortress Visit Report No.3 Bodrum Castle

Visited September 2012.

The Knights of St John of Rhodes started building the castle, named St. Peter's Castle, in 1406. It is build on the site of a previous Byzantine castle and it occupies a prominent position on a rocky peninsula overlooking the harbour.

This is the postcard view.

The castle does not have a central keep or donjon but has five major towers, four built by a different national group in the Knights, Italian, German, French and English and a Snake Tower, so called after its decoration. The site was bounded by a wall and it was surrounded by a moat. Entrance to the inner area was by a series of seven gates.

Artillery based defences were added during the period 1513 - 1521. Two bastions and a casemated battery were added to the harbour side. At the time of construction, the casemated battery would have been on the waterfront. This postcard is of an 18th or 19th century print and shows the two bastions.

These are my photographs

The garrison was around 50 knights and 150 soldiers. It fell to the Ottomans on 5th January 1523, without a fight. In June 1522 the Ottomans attacked the Order's headquarters in Rhodes. This fell in December 1522 and as part of the surrender terms, St Peter's castle was handed over.

Bodrum is close to the centre  of the Ottoman Empire so the castle did not see any fighting until 1915 when it was shelled by the French Naval ship DUPLEIX.

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