Ever since time immemorial, Bodrum (Halikarnassos) has been well-known for its ship-building industry. Seafaring boats made of wood according to traditional methods are known as gulets. In the past, these boats were used by merchants to transport goods from one Aegean town to another; nowadays. they cater to tourists who spend hundreds of euros on an all-inclusive seven-day 'Blue Voyage' up the famous Gokova Bay.

Colourful fishing boats in the Old Harbour in front of Bodrum Town Hall. From here, there are taxi boat services in the summer (May-October) to Bardakci Bay every 10-15 minutes, where you can swim in the sea and enjoy a splendid view of the Castle. The taxi boat service starts at 08:00 in the morning and last boat is at 23:00 in the night.

Before the Turkish War of Independence (1919-1922, also know as the Greco-Turkish War), Bodrum's inhabitants were predominantly Greek-speaking. After the Population Exchange in 1923, most of the original residents of the Bodrum Peninsula were resttled on the Greek island of Crete, while the Turkish-speaking population of Greece moved into the area. As a result, the town's trademark white-washed cube houses remain, together with Greek-style architectures. The white building in the centre of this photo is the Customs Quarantine Center. In the past when communication was not well developed, should there be any case of cholera or other infectious disease on board an incoming vessel, a yellow flag would be raised onto the mast. Health officials in the harbour would then proceed to house the incoming passengers in the building for further observation.

View of part of the Old Harbour and far too many sugar-cube houses on the hillside. I wish those sugar-cube houses have never been built. In order to cash in on the tourism boom, over-zealous developers scrambled to build tens of hundreds of such sugar-cube houses in spite of planning laws.

Prior to the arrival of tourism industry in Turkey, Bodrum was a quiet small town and an important centre for sponge-diving. Nowadays it is difficult to find any sponge - natural or artifical - in the shops because it is far more lucrative to sell counterfeit Gucci and Prada handbags instead. The centre of sponge-diving activity has since shifted to the neighbouring Greek island of Kalymnos, just 40 minutes away by hydrofoil from Bodrum.

In spite of this shift of focus, the Marina in Bodrum is still home to hundreds of expensive yachts and gulets. In the summer, it is nice to travel on one of the yachts or gulets and set sail amid the cooling breeze of the Aegean. Temperature on the sea feels much cooler than while on land.

Private yachts in the Bodrum Marina Yacht Club. This is the most affluent yacht club in the whole of Turkey. The town of Bodrum could be classified into two different sections: the upper-class, affluent Marina side, and the mundane, touristic side along the infamous Bar Street. The shopping arcade of the Marina is house to several expensive boutiques, and the upmarket dining place 'Marina Yacht Club' is sponsored by the luxury sports car maker, Maserati.

The cafe in the middle of this photo is the 'Seaman's Club', a local cafe run by the Municipalitiy and the Harbour Authorities. It's one of the most popular cafes in Bodrum, because the price is fair for Bodrum standard, and there is a nice view of the harbour. In the afternoon, people will sit outside in the open-air and drink freshly brewed Turkish tea, made from tea leaves harvested from tea plantations on the misty mountain sides of Black Sea towns of Rize. It has become customary for us to have a few glasses of tea (in a pretty tulip-shaped glass) at this cafe in the afternoon.
Price for one glass of cay (tea with sugar): 1ytl (2007)

Copyrights 2008. All texts and photos by YC Cheng. All Rights Reserved.

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