Wrecks of Bodrum
Confronted with an invasion by the Seljuk Turks, the Knights Hospitaller, whose headquarters were on the island of Rhodes, needed another stronghold on the mainland. Grand Master Philibert de Naillac (1396–1421) identified a suitable site across from the island of Kos, where a castle had already been built of the Order. Its location was the site of a fortification in Doric times (1110 BC) as well as of a small Seljuk castle in the 11th century. The same promontory is also the probable site of the Palace of Mausolos, the famous King of Caria.
The construction of the castle began in 1404under the supervision of the German knight-architect Heinrich Schlegelholt. Construction workers were guaranteed a reservation in heaven by a Papal Decree of 1409. They used squared green volcanic stone, marble columns and reliefs from the nearby Mausoleum of Maussollos to fortify the castle.
The first walls were completed in 1437. The chapel was among the first completed inner structures (probably 1406). It consists of a vaulted nave and an apse. The chapel was reconstructed in Gothic style by Spanish Knights of Malta in 1519-1520. Their names can be found on two cornerstones of the façade.
Fourteen cisterns for collecting rainwater were excavated in the rocks under the castle.
Each langue of the Order had its own tower, each in its own style. Each tongue, each headed by a Bailiff, was responsible for the maintenance and defence of a specific portion of the fortress and for manning it with sufficient numbers of knights and soldiers. There were seven gates leading to the inner part of the fortress.