I didn’t really expect to find a Maritime Museum in the imposing Knights of Malta Castle, towering over Bodrum Harbor, but that’s exactly what I found this extraordinary place. The castle has many dark and cool rooms as well as arched walkways, which have been made good use of as exhibition places for the museum pieces. The Maritime Museum is very special, as it is the only of its kind in Europe which exhibits treasures recovered from the bottom of the Aegean Sea, which bear witness to what life was like in ancient Greece and surrounding areas.
Climbing up the rather steep and somewhat slippery path from the entrance to the courtyard of the castle, I found a gallery which runs along three sides of the courtyard. Murals show how olive oil was laboriously squeezed in ancient times and exhibits include hundreds of unbroken amphoras which were used to transport oil and wine across the sea as well as an ancient olive press.
Halls and rooms of the building house, among other things, a reconstruction of half a vessel, complete with cutlery, clothes and cooking material, navigation instruments, anchors and weapons.
Most impressive however is the “glass room.” The room is kept in mysterious half-darkness, but the exhibits are spotlighted. Glasses, jewelry, delicate plates and chunks of colored glass, ready to be converted into artifacts have miraculously survived their wet grave undamaged. The colors are so vivid as if the glass had been tinted today.
What made my jaw drop in admiration was a single artifact: an about 2 inch long needle, in blue and white candy striped glass, eye and all…and still in one piece.
The museum is located in Bodrum Castle, entry fee about $10 and opening hours are daily from 9 to 5. After you have had your fill of admiring all the exhibits, you can rest on tables and comfy chairs in the courtyard in the shade of ancient olive trees, listen to the birds and watch peacocks. You can get refreshments and snacks from a stall and buy reproductions and souvenirs from another.
Inka is German and used to be an international attorney with offices in London and Spain. Retired two years ago because I wanted to be a traveler and writer and now live between Didim/Turkey and Miami with plenty of travel in between. Next destinations: Istanbul, New York and Petra/Jordan.