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Bodrum, on the north shore of the Gulf of Gökova, was the home of the first "Blue Voyager", Cevat Şakir Kabaağaç or the "Fisherman of Halikarnas". It is the undisputed "hot spot" of the Aegean Coast. This swinging, singing, dancing town, with its bohemian atmosphere, gathers together Turkey's artists, intellectuals and lovers of the good life.

An impressive medieval castle built by the Knights of Rhodes guards the entrance to Bodrum's dazzling blue bay, in which the Aegean and the Mediterranean seas meet. The Bodrum Castle now houses the Museum of Underwater Archaeology. Known in ancient times as Halicarnassus, Bodrum is the birthplace of Herodotus and the site of King Mausolus's Tomb (4th centuary BC), one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world.

The yearly throng of visitors has encouraged small entrepreneurs who have made shopping in Bodrum a delight. Souvenirs abound, and on certain streets local artists gather to sell their works - works that come in all forms.

The Bodrum Turban Marina is one of the loveliest and best - equipped marinas in the region.

A yachting tour of the Gulf of Gökova starts in Bodrum. The translucent and deep waters of the Gulf on the southern shore of the Bodrum Peninsula vary from the darkest blue to the palest turquoise, and the coastline is thickly wooded with every hue of green. In the evening, the sea reflects the mountains silhouetted against the setting sun, while at night it shimmers with phosphorescence.

One of the best anchorages is the splendidly scenic Akbük, hidden behind a forested promontory. The excellent cosy restaurants are as good a reason as any to linger for a tasty meal after an afternoon of snorkeling and diving. Sedir Island (ancient Cedrai) boasts an incredible beach with fine sand composed of fossils, and a splendid view of Kiran mountains across the bay. As you sail along the island's southwestern coast, forests stretch out to meet the deep inlets of the bays. The jagged coastline, known as the Bay of Sixty-Six Inlets, seems to have emerged from the oft-told tales of pirates.

The waters of the Gulf of Hisarönü lap the breathtaking shores that hold the legacy of both ancient and modern civilizations. At the end of the Datca Peninsula stands the ancient Carian city of Knidos, described by Strabo as a city that was built for the most beautiful of goddesses, Aphrodite, on the most beautiful of peninsulas. Famous as a center of art and culture in the fourth century BC, the city had two harbors: one on the Aegean and the other on the Mediterranean. The remains of a circular temple dedicated to the goddess of love overlook remains of the two harbors; the arcaded way was built of white marble heart-shaped columns. The legendary Aphrodite of Praxiteles statue, reputedly one of the most beautiful sculptures of the antiquity, once graced this temple.

The town of Datça has become a popular stop-over for yachtsmen, and offers many colorful seafood restaurants, pubs and discotheques.

In the Gulf of Hisaronu is the peaceful Keci Bükü Bay; the Bay Marina is rich in natural beauty: the surrounding mountains and forests, and the long "Kızkumu" (sunken "pier"), a natural sand formation. Leaving the Gulf of Hisarönü: hidden away in its own exclusive inlet is the town of Bozburun, famous as one of the gulet-building centers of Turkey. Loryma, at the tip of the Bozburun Peninsula where the ruins of the ancient harbor and castle remain, can only be reached by boat. Kumlubük, a turquoise paradise, lies on the southern side of the bay; on the north side, above the water, stands the ancient Rhodian city of Amos. At Turunc a natural harbor opens out into a wide expanse of spectacular blue water. The next port is Marmaris.