The first settlement in Bodrum was on the little island where the
St Peter Castle is located.
According to the father of history Herodotus, Dorians from Troezen called their new island
Zephyria. It is not certain when the mainland
Halicarnassus was founded however it is mentioned that in 7th
Halicarnassus was one of the sixth cities in the Dorian Confederation of Hexapolis. Because the Dorians were not the first inhabitants of the area they had to defend their cities against
Carians. They started to live in peace after a Greek opened a tavern at
Salmacis (Bardakci) which is a fountain said to have relaxing properties. According to the mythological stories Aphrodite's son was spending his days swimming in the lake of Salmacis fountain water. The nymph of the lake fell in love with him and the gods allowed them to live together in a single body so they created a half man half woman figure of
After the 5th century BC Halicarnassus became an Ionian city. In
546 B.C. the Persians conquered the Ionian cities including
Halicarnassus. One of the most famous rulers of the Persians was Artemisia I in
480 B.C. Her son
Pysandalis became the ruler of Halicarnassus and the islands around whose son was known to be a very cruel ruler.
After Persia divided the region into satrapes in
377 B.C. King Mausolus became the ruler of
Caria and Halicarnassus. Mausolus was aware of the advantages of the surrounding area of the small city Halicarnassus so then on
Mylasa became the capital which is called Milas today and he had long walls built around Halicarnassus. He also conquered the six other cities around Halicarnassus.
The Antique Theatre is the only remaining of Classical Age. It is one of the oldest in Anatolia which is still used for the festivals.