A family looking at a sculpture in the Mausoleum of Halikarnassos

Room 21

Mausoleum of Halikarnassos

About 350 BC

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Daily: 10.00–17.00 (Fridays: 20.30)
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Gallery audio guides

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The Mausoleum of Halikarnassos is an elaborate, magnificent tomb built for a king.

The Mausoleum, which was regarded as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, is so impressive that the word 'mausoleum' is now used for many monumental tombs. 

Although built on a much grander scale, the Mausoleum took inspiration for its design from the Nereid Monument of Xanthos, which was a city in ancient Lycia, Turkey. You can see the Nereid Monument in Room 17 at the British Museum.

Standing on a tall podium, the building was up to 40m (131ft) in height and was extravagantly decorated with a large amount of sculpture, carved both in the round and in relief. Carved in the round is a type of sculpture in which the figures are presented in complete three-dimensional form and are not attached to a flat background. Carved in relief is a style of carving where an image stands out (or occasionally is cut into) a flat background.

The sculptural themes on the Mausoleum of Halikarnassos explored life in the court of King Maussollos of Karia, south-west Turkey, and his hopes for the afterlife.

Colossal free-standing statues and marble relief slabs from the Mausoleum can be seen in Room 21, as well as fragments of the huge marble, four-horse chariot that crowned the pyramid roof.


  • Some objects in this collection feature on the British Sign Language guide handset, available from the Audio guide Desk in the Great Court.
  • Some objects in this collection feature on the audio description guide, available from Audio guide Desk in the Great Court.
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  • Step-free access is currently unavailable.
  • View sensory map.

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