In the city of Bodrum (formerly known as Halicarnassus) on the Aegean Sea, in
south-west of Turkey.
From 377 to 353 BC, king Mausollos of Caria
had reigned the Persian and turned the city of Halicarnassus into
his capital. Nothing was exciting about Maussollos life except the construction of his
tomb. The project was conceived by his wife and sister Artemisia, and the construction
might have started during the king's lifetime. The Mausoleum was completed around 350 BC,
three years after Maussollos death, and one year after Artemisia's.
For 16 centuries, the Mausoleum remained in good condition until an earthquake caused some
damage to the roof and colonnade. In the early fifteenth century, the Knights of St John
of Malta invaded the region and built a massive crusader castle. When they decided to
fortify it in 1494, they used the stones of the Mausoleum. By 1522, almost every block of
the Mausoleum had been disassembled and used for construction.
Today, the massive castle still stands in Bodrum, and the polished stone and marble blocks
of the Mausoleum can be spotted within the walls of the structure. Some of the sculptures
survived and are today on display at the British Museum in London. At the site of the
Mausoleum itself, only the foundation remained of the once magnificent World Wonder.
Since the nineteenth century, archeological excavations have been undertaken at the
Mausoleum site. These excavations together with detailed descriptions by ancient
historians. A modern reconstruction of the shorter side of the Mausoleum give us a fairly
good idea about the shape and appearance of the Mausoleum... a building for a King whose
name is celebrated in all large tombs today.
The structure was rectangular in plan, with base dimensions of about 40 m (120
ft) by 30 m (100 ft). Overlying the foundation was a stepped podium which sides were
decorated with statues. The burial chamber and the sarcophagus of white alabaster
decorated with gold were located on the podium. The total height of the Mausoleum was 45 m
The beauty of the Mausoleum is not only in the structure itself, but in the decorations
and statues that adorned the outside at different levels on the podium and the roof. These
were tens of life-size as well as under and over life-size statues of people, lions,
horses, and other animals.