The Mausoleum and Sacred Area of Hecatomnus

The Mausoleum and Sacred Area of Hecatomnus

The Mausoleum of Hecatomnus is a remarkable archaeological site located on the East side of Hisarbaşı Hill in the Milas District of Muğla, Turkey. It is considered one of the most impressive burial grounds in the Mediterranean Area.

The architectural style of the Mausoleum of Hecatomnus indicates that it was constructed in the early 4th century BC. There is strong evidence suggesting that the mausoleum belonged to Hecatomnus, as burial customs during that era typically involved burying their leader within the city center. As Mylasa was still the capital at the time, it is likely that Hecatomnus was buried there. Moreover, bas-reliefs on his sarcophagus provide additional evidence for his historical significance in Mylasa, further supporting the argument for this mausoleum belonging to him.

The Mausoleum and Sacred Area of Hecatomnus

The Mausoleum and Sacred Area of Hecatomnus comprises several elements, including the Temenos Wall, Menandros Column, podium, mausoleum, sarcophagus, and dromos.

The Temenos Wall encloses a terrace, which is approximately 10 meters in height and features a double row of marble bossage blocks both inside and outside. These walls date back to the reign of Emperor Augustus, adding to the site's historical significance.

The Menandros Column is a massive monument situated at the eastern edge of a podium. It is dedicated to Menandros and boasts Corinthian-style decorations. There may have also been a statue atop the column. Based on its style and inscription, the column can be dated back to the reign of Augustus.

The podium measures 29m x 36m x 3m and features five steps above ground level. The exterior wall of the podium is made of rectangular blocks of Sodra marble, which is not commonly found in the region. The interior walls, on the other hand, are constructed from granite material and are 3m high, following the outline of the five steps.

The Mausoleum itself is comprised of three main sections, namely the Load-bearing Room, the Burial or Tomb Room, and the dromos that leads to the sarcophagus. The Tomb Room is made of travertine blocks and features tiers.

The Mausoleum of Hecatomnus is a significant architectural masterpiece that contributed to the development of later examples in terms of design and construction techniques. It provided valuable insights on how to reconstruct or represent the burial room of the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus in Bodrum (also known as the Tomb of Mausolus), which is one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.