With Halloween approaching we recently took the opportunity to head down to Bodrum to revaluate our favoured spot to ride out the zombie apocalypse.
St Peter’s Castle is my little secret when we visit Bodrum. Obviously the castle itself isn’t much of a secret. Dominating both bays and visible from both the sea and much of the surrounding town the cat is well out of the bag. But on a hot day the high walls inside the fortification shelter foot sore travellers in need of a cold one.
Though it is well worth exploring the towers and the underwater archaeology museum inside the castle’s inner wall, for me the main attraction of Bodrum Castle is the café. Set within the inner and outer walls the café provides the perfect relief from the hot afternoon sunshine.
Visitors may be unable to enjoy the harbour view offered by the bars outside but instead the surrounds are Byzantine gravestones, marble column stumps and cannons set under the precious shade of a canopy of trees.
In a less certain future this castle will be expected to play a more important role than mere refreshment by ensuring the survival of The Working Traveller come the inevitable zombie apocalypse.
The Zombie Survival Guide, the premier authority on this subject, recommends periodical visits to evaluate the viability of one’s chosen refuge so armed with our checklist we gave the Castle of St Peter’s a surprise inspection.
Surely the most important consideration when thinking about stationary warfare with the undead, the high walls will be expected to do more than provide shade when the dead rise from their graves.
Built by the Order of Knights Hospitaller on what was once the site of the Palace of Maussollos the first phase of Bodrum Castle’s construction was completed in 1437. Look closely at the walls and you see white marble blocks recycled from the Mausoleum of Maussollos, one of the seven wonders of the world.
For 85 years the fortification did its job, keeping out human invaders until turned over to the Ottoman Turks as part of the surrender terms when the knights’ headquarters in Rhodes fell in 1522. The castle saw its last action during World War One when a French warship damaged its walls and knocked down the minaret of the castle’s mosque.
Access to the sea
The artefacts from across the Mediterranean world, from ancient Egypt to the crusaders, which form part of the Museum of Underwater Archaeology housed within the castle testify to Bodrum’s place in an extensive regional trade network.
With the land besieged by an army of corpses the sea will have to provide the means to re-supply and perhaps form new trade routes with survivors in other settlements. Along with their HQ in Rhodes, the Knights Hospitaller also built a castle in Kos that should offer the same refuge possibilities as our intended new home.
With the postal service reduced literally to a skeleton service the postcards sold in the souvenir shops around town will be rendered useless. Fortunately, the solution to this problem was solved centuries ago and even today pigeons remain housed within the walls of St Peter.
The modern toilet facilities provided by the cafes inside the castle will soon become pretty nasty once the sewage system that underpins our modern society fails. While the castle’s original lavatories may lack a little privacy any nasty smells will be carried away by fresh sea breezes.
The Knights Hospitaller divided their order into cultural sub groupings called Tongues. Each Tongue maintained and defended its own tower. In the Castle of St Peter the English Tower has been reproduced to look as it did when used by English knights (though with slightly less Turkish flags, I would think). The dining table is a nice touch but for sleeping we will need to bring camp beds and sleeping bags.
Food and drink
Though they won’t be a great deal of use during the long, hot Turkish summer once the winter rains come rolling around the 14 cisterns for collecting rainwater, that were excavated in the rocks under the castle, will show their worth. Of more concern is the beer situation – though there might have been more out the back, the stocks looked worryingly low during our inspection visit.
There should be room enough to house plenty of canned foods but eventually these supplies will run out. A DIY approach may ultimately be called for.
There should be no doubt a zombie apocalypse will be a stressful time for all. Law and order will almost certainly break down outside our stout walls and may be a cause for concern inside too. Expulsion to the zombie infested world outside may be considered too harsh a penalty for most crimes but, not to worry, our castle comes with its own dungeon.
A look inside the castle costs 20TL but the café can be entered free. A 50cl can of beer in the café is 7Tl, while a 33cl bottle costs 5.50TL.
With no undead epidemic to worry about we instead enjoyed the comfort of Kaya Pansiyon on this trip to Bodrum.
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