Once home to the most flourishing silk industry of the Middle East and fabled for its 300 minarets, it was a city dedicated in equally to commerce to religion. From the fourteenth until the early twentieth century, its inhabitants never numbered more than 50,000. Today it is a sprawling metropolis of over 1,500,000 which is home to Turkey’s automotive industry and still a major centre of textile production, although the famed Bursa towels have long since outpaced its renowned silks. Equally famed was its natural hot springs, known in Turkish as Kaplıca, which abound in the western suburb of Çekirge, and which had been discovered by the end of the eighteenth century.
Today a pleasant way to get from Istanbul to Bursa is the new fast ferry service from Yenikoy (along the sea walls of Istanbul) to Mudanya in surprisingly quick seventy-five minutes.
Discover the Home of the Sultans – The birthplace of Ottoman Empire. Take a tour of the city beginning with the unique twenty-domed Ulu Cami (Great Mosque), built by Yıldırım Bayezid. To its east is the Yeşil Cami complex, erected by his son Celebi Mehmed. To the west, in Çekirge, is the beautiful complex of buildings endowed by his father, Murad Hudavendigar. It includes what is today known as the Hudavendigar Cami (Ruler’s Mosque), which was designed as a multi-purpose building (as were most early Ottoman mosques), containing under one roof a zaviye (hostel for dervishes) a medrese and the actual sanctuary itself.
Get lost at the Covered Bazaar, don’t forget to buy famous Bursa Towels and kese (Massage gloves).
Buy silk at the most famous Caravansaray, Koza Han.
Experience the hot spring baths of Bursa Spring Resorts (Kaplıca). The Bursa Spring Resorts healed sultans and other patients for centuries, they have a high potential energy.
Climb the Uludag Mountain with a cable car to watch the magnificent scenery from the mountain. Uludag is the legendary Mount Olympos, from where it is said that the Gods have watched the Trojan war according to the Greek mythology.
g2o Cultural Tip
Visit the Esat Uluumay Museum to see rich heritage of Turkey’s regional dresses collected from Bursa and its surroundings. 400 costumes are exhibited, mounted on figures and fully accessorized , so as to illustrate weaving, embroidery, knitting and lace-making techniques, as well as the jeweller’s craft.
Visit the Archaeological Museum with its four exhibition halls, see Prehistoric artefacts, statues, busts and architectural pieces, enjoy metal, glass and ceramic artefacts and coin collections.
Visit the Museum of Turkish Art, which has an eclectic collection of Ottoman books, Korans, and examples of fine calligraphy.
g2o Hot Table
Eat at Iskender Kebabcısı, for 80 years the Iskender Kebabcısı has been home to the eponymous to Iskender Kebab.
Try Iskender Kebab – Doner on pide with tomato sauce, yoghurt, with melted butter pored over.
Eat at Çiçek Izgara, which is famous for another Bursa treat, the Inegol Kofte. Enjoy succulent veal and lamb patties which you sprinkle with paprika and eat together with piyaz, a special bean and onion salad.