We have a recommendation for the travelers who are heading for Bodrum this summer. It is a little book by Roger Williams, about a man who made Bodrum, Bodrum: The Fisherman of Halicarnassus, Cevat Sakir. We encourage you to find and study this book to appreciate the fascinating history and culture of this magical region.
“Merhaba! When you reach to the top of this hill, you will see Bodrum. Don’t think that you will leave the same person as when you arrived. To all those who came before you, it happened that way: they lost their hearts in Bodrum.”
This Quotation and a photograph of the smiling, weather-battered face of its author, the Fisherman of Halicarnassus, Cevat Sakir Kabaagacli welcomes you on the main road into Bodrum.
The Fisherman arrived in the isolated little town of Bodrum in 1925 as a prisoner, sentenced to three-year’s exile, for an article he had written. The authorities intended to jail him in the Bodrum Castle, but as it was no longer used as a prison, the local commandant let him live in a small house on the beach.
He became smitten with Bodrum’s simple way of life and with the beauty of the area. He was made to serve the remainder of his sentence in Istanbul. But, a year and a half was more than enough for falling in love with this small village. After he was released, he moved back to his prison, this time with his own will, and stayed there for 25 years.
Cevat Sakir was an Oxford educated writer and artist from the upper stratum of Ottoman society. The stories he wrote in Bodrum gained him a wide national readership. He had already realized that there was something magical and unique in the turquoise waters and the green mountains of the region. After that point, he started to extensively use this beauty in his books.
His love of nature and ethnography made him also a well known travelogue. He actively sought new ways to make things better for the region. He traveled along the Aegean coast, planted thousands of trees with his bare hands, found new ways to generate income for the natives, investigated the history that shaped culture. Many of the mythological and historical information about Bodrum peninsula that is told today are the information brought to us by the Fisherman of Halicarnassus.
In the 1950s and 1960s literary and artistic friends came to see him, and to join him in the simple summer adventures he had been enjoying for more than two decades, sailing with minimal provisions and equipment around the gulf of Gokova and along the Carian and Lycian coasts. Soon these “Blue Voyages” or “Blue Cruises” began to appear in holiday brochures that put Bodrum on the map, and brought first adventurous travelers from abroad.
When he passed away in 1973, the Fisherman had left behind more than 30 novels and much more stories. He has also published some books in English like the first touristic guide for Ephesus, Halicarnassus Guide, The Mediterranean Civilization, Asia Minor and An Outline of the History of Turkey.
He was buried in Bodrum as per his last will. Some of his personal items are on display at Bodrum Maritime Museum. However, we truly believe that the true heart of Bodrum, the Fisherman of Halicarnassus deserves a proper museum dedicated to his life and influence in the region. Bodrum is Bodrum with her beloved Fisherman. Respect.