Bodrum of Muğla province is among the most visited tourist destinations in the world. Once a small fishing village founded on the ruins of the ancient site of Halicarnassus of Caria, Bodrum has witnessed a true renaissance in the last decades. And became the summer vacation spot of millions of tourists coming from all over the world. The popularity of the city has emerged from the famous Blue Voyage and the special interest of artists and intellectuals.
As a matter of fact, one individual was responsible for starting the rush to Bodrum. Cevat Şakir Kabaağaçlı, often referred to as “The Fisherman of Halicarnassus,” the pen name he adopted after he settled in Bodrum. The first man to lead people to spend time in the town and environs, which he would call “the Blue Anatolia.”
The Fisherman of Halicarnassus was born “Cevat Şakir” in Crete on April 17, 1886. To Mehmet Şakir Pasha, Ottoman High Commissioner to Crete, and Sare İsmet Hanım. The Fisherman was the eldest of six siblings, all talented artists. Fahrelnisa Zeid and Aliye Berger, two of his sisters, would become famous painters, while his niece Füreya, daughter of Hakkiye, the eldest sister of The Fisherman, was a ceramic artist.
The Fisherman passed his early years in Athens, where his father was the Ottoman Ambassador. He was first schooled on Büyükada, the biggest of the Princes Islands, before he enrolled in the Robert College. Once he spoke of the time spent at the college as a total waste. He wrote, “We spent three years to read some crap, and three years more to forget them. A total of six years of nothing.”
However, in 1907, he graduated from Robert College and his father made him move to London to study history at Oxford University. In 1913, he moved to Italy to study painting and married an Italian model named Agnesia Kafeira. They had a daughter. On the other hand, The Fisherman had a boy, too, from a secret affair with a Spanish woman named Pilar. His son born from Pilar died in the Spanish Civil War.
The Fisherman was a talented essayist. Readers of various ages can easily get familiar with his point of views. He can explain a philosophical thought as if he is writing a short story, or as if he is reporting on a football match. His anecdotes are very rich thanks to his education.
The Fisherman of Halicarnassus died of bone cancer on Oct. 13, 1973 in İzmir and was buried in Bodrum, in accordance with his will. Next to his grave, there is a small museum named after him.