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Did you know that the word 'mausoleum', which indicates a 'tomb' was derived from the word 'mausolus'?
The ancient city of Halicarnassus was known for several historical elements. However, the magnificent tomb built for Mausolus was one of the most fantastic attractions.
This was the first of its kind, and it still holds historical significance because the Mausolus tomb was an inspiration for several other mausoleums erected later on.
The Mausoleum of Halicarnassus was once the epitome of architecture in the ancient world. Today, you can admire the remains of this famous monument at the castle of the Knights Hospitaller and in the British Museum. Modern Bodrum was built with stones from the remains of the historic city of Halicarnassus. Today, it is one of the prime tourist attractions in Turkey, with its many ancient ruins to explore and the flavors of Halicarnassus to experience in several parts.
Herodotus is one of the most famous Greek writers, and he was from Halicarnassus. You will see a sculpture dedicated to him still preserved in Bodrum. Centuries ago, there was a beautiful mausoleum here, built by a wife in memory of her husband, who was a famous ruler. She died of grief after the death of her king; years later, the construction of the tomb started, and she did not survive to see the finished grave. small island called Marmara when it was finished. Perched atop a hill, the tomb stands overlooking the entire city of Halicarnassus. For thousands of years, it stood there slowly, destroyed section after section by natural disasters and the urbanization of the surrounding areas. The British archaeologist Charles Newton played a crucial role in the excavation and discovery of the artefacts from this great tomb. This discovery led to a better understanding of whatever history we know today about this historic monument. Learning about this one monument is like taking a resourceful history lesson about the origins of Turkey and the old Greek dynasties.
Once you have gathered enough information about Halicarnassus, why not learn about other interesting topics like Anne Frank house facts and Canada Tower Toronto here at Kidadl.
The historical anecdotes of whatever is known about Halicarnassus' origin date back to the 15th century BC. This city is believed to have been a Dorian colony in the past.
If you have heard about the Peloponnesian War, you might already know the power that the Dorians and Ionians held back then. Halicarnassus is unique because it was said to be a Dorian colony that even took part in the Apollo Dorian Festival. Still, it also had several cultural elements that were closely similar to the ionic style.
The Halicarnassus mausoleum put this ancient city on the global map for its magnificent architecture and historical elements. This was in the time of the Hekatomnid Dynasty.
Hecatomnus was the king who moved the capital of Caria to Halicarnassus. It was also in his time that most houses were built on island regions that were easily accessible through sea routes. The whole city is believed to have been an island before it became part of the mainland.
His three sons and two daughters succeeded King Hecatomnus. Among them were Mausolus and Artemisia. Artemisia was Mausolus’s sister and wife. Together, they were powerful rulers who brought in tremendous improvements to the city's architecture.
Adding to the city's aesthetic value was one main thing that this couple was known for. After Mausolus passed away, Artemisia initiated the construction of a grand marble mausoleum for him with the help of the best Greek architects. This was the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus.
The monument's design has been a widely discussed topic in the history of architecture. The Halicarnassus mausoleum was designed based on inspiration from the Nereid Monument. The facade of the structure consisting of a cubical platform with symmetrically placed pillars on the top majestically framing the monument was based on the tomb of Xanthos.
The mausoleum is a 147 ft (45 m) tall structure with a majestic platform base and columns on the top, securely supporting a pyramidal top portion. The spot itself was chosen on the top of a hill overlooking the entire city. Today, this spot stands right in the city center of Bodrum.
The whole structure is comprised of a spacious courtyard within a secure enclosure. The tomb atop the elevated platform stood at the center of the courtyard. Above the towering platform, there were 36 columns, each 39 ft (12 m) in height. This further added to the size of the mausoleum. And back in the days when such towering structures were not very popular, this one became quite the eye-catcher.
To add to the majesty of the columns, there was a tall pyramid with 24 steps that led to the highest point of the structure.
Besides the core structure of the building, numerous aesthetic elements were added to make this one of the grandest structures of its time. Every little detail, like the statues on the walls where stairs led to the top of the platform and the many sculptures, speaks volumes about the sculptor’s art skills.
The attractive base of the monument was carved with the battle scenes of ancient Greeks. These were in the form of highly detailed friezes. The other main element was the placement of statues between each column. The center of attraction was the giant statue of Mausolus and Artemisia riding a chariot led by four horses. This was discovered in parts when the marble structure was excavated.
One of the main reasons this landmark became a topic of discussion in historical monuments is its use of Greek-style with the difference of incorporating several sculptures of animals and people. If you look at most other old Greek landmarks or even public buildings, most of them depicted Greek Gods and characters from Greeks mythologies.
The stability of the structure was mainly because of the robust foundation that was created for it. The foundation itself is said to have been around 7.9-8.9 ft (2.4–2.7 m) deep. The fact that the architects managed to get this depth on rocky terrain like the hills on which this monument was constructed is awe-inspiring in itself.
Despite the foundation's strength, the structure collapsed due to high-intensity earthquakes that shook this place from the 12-15th century AD.
The mausoleum stood tall, preserving the glory of Mausolus for several years while Halicarnassus underwent several changes. Another interesting historical event in this city was the conquest of this city by Alexander the Great, one of the greatest rulers in the world.
Alexander is said to have been adopted by the then Queen of Caria, Ada, who was the sister of Artemisia. Alexander's efforts to protect the city from siege can be seen in the remains of the town that are tourist attractions today. While the native city itself crumbled bit by bit, the mausoleum stood there for nearly 16 centuries after it was constructed.
Earthquakes in this region finally destroyed this funerary monument. When the iconic Bodrum Castle was built, stones from the remains of this mausoleum were used in the construction. A few years later, the Bodrum Castle was given to the Ottoman Empire. During such transitions, there were construction activities in the area that led to the discovery of statues and other construction elements from the ancient city.
Piecing together the excavated ruins of this area and the recreation of the possible original structure happened in the 19th century. This was when Charles Thomas Newton started exploring the place for finding the remains of this great city. Based on these excavations and further studies by historians and archaeologists, some monographs were released later. Based on these, we now have a better picture of this monument's history and a renovated structure.
Halicarnassus mausoleum was located on the very spot where the current day Bodrum city in Turkey lies, where there was an island in the past. Even today, you can see several places where this ancient city's ruins have been preserved. The Myndus Gate, which is a popular tourist destination, was once the fortification site of the city of Halicarnassus.
Within the castle of the Knights Hospitaller, you will still be able to spot the magnificent foundation of this structure. Several majestic statues excavated from the mausoleum site can now be found in the British Museum. Most of them were found due to the efforts of Charles Newton. During his excavations, the statues of Artemisia and Mausolus were found. This was the central statue of the building, and so it gave an idea of the exact location of the monument itself.
The Mausoleum of Halicarnassus is one of the seven wonders of the ancient world that continues to intrigue historians worldwide. So, knowing how this monument came into construction would be an interesting story itself.
The children of Hecatomnus ruled the region of Caria one after the other. Back then, this was a part of the Persian Empire, and Halicarnassus was the capital city of Caria. When Mausolus and Artemisia were married, they built a vast palace overlooking the sea routes. And this part of the Persian Empire saw a lot of aesthetic improvements in this time.
Artemisia did not take Mausolus' death easily. There are several stories that talk about how depressed she was after her husband’s death. This was when she summoned the best Greek architects, Pythius of Priene and Satyros to design the tomb for her husband.
There were numerous Greek artists involved in designing the sculptures and friezes and other ornate details of the building. They were responsible for the exceptional pieces that were later discovered, like the stone warriors, stone lions, and other decorations on the great wall of this monument.
These decorations tell a lot about the history of Mausolus’ rule and government and several other stories from Greece, making it one of the most interesting historic monuments in the world.
The monument construction was only complete after the death of Artemisia. She is said to have died of grief after the demise of her king. Tombs of her and Mausolus were erected on the site as planned, by the year 350 BC. The building of the monument continued uninterrupted even after her death because of the dedicated efforts of the artists involved, and every stone in the monument today and the walls of whatever is left of the mausoleum show the efforts of these great sculptors and artists.
Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for Halicarnassus, Turkey, then why not take a look at the Skyscraper Dubai, or turkey facts.
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