Yet another plundered Wonder of the Ancient World, the mausoleum reveals only the foundations of the original masterpiece. King Mausolus of Caria ordered the construction of the 42m (138-ft.) ornate marble monument, and after his death, his wife (also his sister), Artemesia II, saw to the project's continuation. After her death the architects and artisans paid for the project out of their own pockets; it was finally completed in 350 B.C. According to historical accounts, the magnificent tomb featured pillars supporting a pyramid-shaped roof that appeared to "float" above the structure. Atop the summit was a sculpture of the king and queen riding in a chariot. In 1522, after an earthquake caused the monument to collapse, the Hospitalers used the stones from the Mausoleum as building material for the reconstruction of the castle. (Look for the greenish stones on the exterior of the chapel just beyond the entrance to the main portion of the museum.) Because of the damage caused by earthquakes, plundering, and irresponsible excavations, present-day archaeologists can only guess at the building's original appearance.
- © Frommer's 2013
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