St. Peter's Castle (Bodrum Kalesi) in Bodrum, Turkey

St. Peter's Castle is the landmark of the Turkish coastal town of Bodrum. Built by the Crusaders, today it offers not only medieval flair but also a world-famous underwater museum.

The Bodrum Kalesi or St. Peter's Castle is one of the main sights of the Turkish coastal town of Bodrum and is one of the top 10 sights in Turkey. It is located on a small peninsula at the entrance to the harbour of Bodrum, the ancient Halicarnassus.


PICTURES: Bodrum - St. Peter's Castle (Bodrum Kalesi)

Photo gallery: St. Peter's Castle (Bodrum Kalesi) in Bodrum

Construction of the St. Peter Fort in Bodrum

The massive knight's castle was built in the 15th century by crusaders of the Order of St John from various countries. These are reflected in the five towers, whose names represent their inhabitants. Thus there is a Spanish, French, Italian, German and English tower, all of which today house their own treasures.

The mighty bulwark had its own water supply and was intended to withstand any attack; the awe-inspiring walls with towers up to almost 50m high still give this impression today.

The construction of the fort was extremely important to the Vatican at the time. Every Christian who helped build it was guaranteed admission to the kingdom of heaven.

After Rhodes was abandoned by the Crusaders in 1523, the castle fell into the hands of the Ottomans without a fight and was subsequently left to decay for several centuries. For a short time, it served as a storage site for the finds of local sponge divers, which led to the need to restore the castle. And not only that.

Emergence of the Underwater Museum

Some 250 knights' coats of arms in the walls of St. Peter's Castle bear witness to the castle's former knighthood in the port city of Bodrum, Turkey - © elen_studio / Shutterstock
© elen_studio / Shutterstock

The sponge divers' finds were so numerous and unique that an entire museum of underwater archaeology was set up in cooperation with the American Institute of Nautical Archaeology, whose ancient wrecks have now achieved worldwide fame. One of them can even be entered, an unforgettable experience especially for children.

The first objects made of glass from early Islamic and Roman production are exhibited in a separate "Glass Hall".


In addition, there are countless amphorae and other vessels in which oil, wine and food were transported, swords, armour, sculptures, tools and various small finds. Some 250 knights' coats of arms in the walls of St. Peter's Castle bear witness to the castle's former knighthood.

In addition to the archaeological and historical attractions, there is also the beautiful garden in the courtyard of St. Peter's Fort, which impresses with its great wealth of species - almost all the plants of the region can be admired here, from the hero-crowning laurel tree to myrrh, olive, acacia and rose to the poisonous "tree of hell".

Tip: A visit to the fort is a must not only for fans of the Middle Ages and the Crusaders! To really enjoy the excursion into the past to the fullest, you should plan 2-3 hours for the tour.

Related links:

Official site of Bodrum
Official site of the Museum of Underwater Archaeology
Detailed further information about the castle and its history