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Bursa, the fourth largest Turkish city, is in the northwestern part of the country, just south of the Sea of Marmara. The first impression of the city might be that of a large, concrete-ridden modern metropolis that is betraying its largely recognized Turkish epithet of Yeşil Bursa ("Green Bursa"), and its historical prominency as being the cradle of the Ottoman state; however, upon a closer look you will see it really lives up to its name, by proudly displaying its Ottoman heritage in the shape of many mosques, tombs, and lovely quarters of old houses, as well as by harbouring many pleasant parks, which fill the city with fresh air, and provide the weary traveller some shade to rest in—and even if you haven't found the parks sufficient enough to have this city earned the honorific of "green", then the lush woodlands of Mt. Uludağ is just above that steep hill. (less...) (more...)
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Points of Interest in Bursa
- Ulucami (in downtown). The "great mosque" of Bursa. Built in early Ottoman period, in 1399, it resembles more of earlier Seljuq buildings of inland Anatolia than the typical Ottoman mosques such as Blue Mosque of Istanbul built later. Ulucamii is perhaps most reknown for the striking calligraphic panels that adorn its walls and columns as well as the fountain within the mosque whose trickling sounds contribute to its serene atmosphere.
- Orhan Camii ve Külliyesi (Orhan Mosque)
- Yeşil Camii(Green Mosque)This mosque is in the Yesil or 'green' district of Bursa just left over the bridge. It contains a wonderful Turbe or tomb completely covered by tiles inside and out. The mosque opposite is very unusual in that it has a fountain inside the prayer area - with lots of legends attached to it. It is also built in a cruciform shape. No one knows why. Beside it are tea gardens with spectacular views over the Bursa valley and Uludag mountain.
- Emir Sultan Camii
- Muradiye Camii
- Hüdavendigar Camii
- Yıldırım Camii
- Koca Sinan Paşa
- İshak Paşa Külliyeleri
- Celal Bayar Müzesi
- Yeşil Türbe(Green Tomb) is the tomb of the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed I (1412-1420) and is the iconic monument of the city.
- Emir Sultan Türbesi
- Gazi Timurtaş Paşa Türbesi
- Gazi Osman Türbesi is the tomb of the first Ottoman sultan located in the Tophane district
- Orhan Gazi Türbesi is the tomb of the second Ottoman sultan, the son of Osman. It's located immediately next to his father's tomb in the Tophane district.
- The Muradiye Complex surrounding the Muradiye Mosque is a small necropolis filled with tombs of illustrious Ottoman figures such as Murat II; Prince Mustafa, son of Suleiman the Great; Gülbahar Hanım, midwife of Mehmet the Conqueror and various wives of sultans.
- İnkaya — a huge centuries-old (well, approximately 600 years, to be precisely) plane (Platanus orientalis) tree with an open-air café sheltered by its deep shadow, on the foothills of (and just off the road to) Uludağ.
- Darüzziyafe. A poorhouse during the Ottoman period, this building now serves as a family restaurant (with no alcohol service).It is a stunningly restored building in the Muradiye district of Bursa. The garden has wonderful views of Bursa. The cuisine is pure Ottoman and difficult to find in a modern Turkish city.
- Sarı Konak In Tophane.
- Balıbey Han
- Koza Han
- Irgandı Köprüsü (Bridge)in Setbasi.Its an old version of shopping malls.There are small shops on bridge.
- Cumalıkızık A village founded more than 700 years old. There are 265 centuries-old half timbered houses in the village and approximately 190 of them are still occupied.
As with many cities of the classical era, ancient Prusa, a corrupted form of which is now the modern name of the city, was named after its founder, Prusias, the king of Bithynia, who set the first stone of the city in 202 BC. About a century and quarter later, Bursa, along with the rest of the Kingdom of Bithynia, was annexed into the Roman Empire. It was the Romans who developed the baths making use of the thermal waters of Çekirge first, and they have been in continual operation ever since. (But the Byzantines were the ones who were really enthuastic about the baths. The first steps of tourism in Bursa date back to that era, when people from far and wide were arriving in numbers to visit the baths for their therapeutic properties.)
In 1326, after trying for 8 to 10 years (historians haven't come to an agreement on the exact duration yet), then-Byzantine Bursa became the first major city that the Ottomans, who started as a small emirate in the countryside just east of the city, had taken control of. As such, it was here that the Ottoman principality rose to full statehood from being an insignificant, remote, semi-nomad society. Even after the seat was moved to Edirne in European mainland in 1365, as the sultans turned their attention to the continent across the Sea of Marmara, Bursa kept its special place in the Ottoman psyche, and all sultans up to Mehmet the Conqueror, who put an end to the Byzantine Empire by taking its last stronghold, Constantinople, in 1453, were buried here, even those reigning from Edirne. Many dynasty members, even after the throne was moved to Constantinople, followed the suite as well.
The earthquake of 1855 shook the city hard, claiming many landmarks together with it. With this information in mind, you'll have little reason to wonder why what seemingly should be an ancient Ottoman edifice was built in then-contemporary styles of Ottomanized Baroque and Rococo.
A great time to visit the city is the late winter/early spring, which is characterized by refreshing rains early in the morning, followed by sunny and comfortably warm noons—a welcome and easily perceived change from cooler Istanbul (located further north) or Eskişehir (located higher, and further away from the sea).
- Yeni Kaplica (Termal Hotel and Baths), Kukurtlu Mh. Cekirge Cadd (Immediately down from the Celik Palais Hotel), ☎ 0224 2366968. An experience not to be missed while visiting Bursa for anyone interested in a relaxing thermal bath. The mineral water boils up from below the extensive baths built in 1555 and flows into a large central pool from a lion's head fixed into the wall. The baths are anything but touristy but the staff are used to tourists. Not a word of Turkish is necessary! The building remains unchanged since it was built by the Vizer 'Kara Mustafa' or 'Black Mustafa'. It is a large multi roomed building with a wonderful sense of space and proportion. it is modeled on the Roman Baths rather than a hamam as pools - or non-flowing water were never permitted under Islam. This is the exception. A good rubdown (kese) and a massage are essential. Afterwards just go for a nap in one of the beds provided wrapped in towels. Bliss. 12 tl.
Since Bursa lies on a geologically-active area, the place is rich in mineral waters and accordingly is famous for its traditional baths.
- Keçeli Hamamı. For women. More than 600 years old and renewed.
- Umurbey Hamamı
- Yeşil Hamamı
- Beyaz Saray Hamamı. For men. In Altıparmak.
- Kervan Saray Hamamı For Women and For Men, in CEKIRGE district.The Hamam has a nice pool.Its so clean and hygienic.
Try the İskender kebap, a dish originated from Bursa. İskender consists of roasted, sliced lamb spread atop diced bread pieces, topped with tomato sauce, served with yoghurt. A similar dish, meatballs instead of sliced lamb only, would be Pideli Köfte which is definitely cheaper and perhaps more delicious. Go to Kayhan Carsisi, very close to Heykel, for best options. Candied Chestnut is the best choice for dessert but sadly you cannot get it from a restaurant.
- İskender, Ünlü Cadde (near Heykel). Restaurant is named after the dish since the owners are descendants of the person who "invented" the dish.
- Pidecioğlu, Bozkurt Caddesi (just off Altiparmak Caddesi, near the Bursaspor stadium). Another good İskender kebab restaurant.
- Çiçek Izgara, Belediye Caddesi 15, Heykel. A meat ball restaurant referred to by many Turkish novelists.
- Hacı Dayı is a kebab restaurant in the Tophane district with tasty dishes and large portion sizes for a decent price. Look for it right behind the tombs of Osman and Orhan.
The cafe at the gardens of Kozahan might be the most authentic place in the city to have a Turkish coffee—which might be what Queen Elizabeth II was thinking, who visited there in 2008.
- Silk - one of the major industries of Bursa in the past, this is still one of the major draws of Bursa.
- Koza Han (Silk Bazaar) (in downtown, very near Ulucami). M-Sa 8AM-8PM. Silk bazaar dating back to 1491. Think of a very historical mall devoted only to silk.
This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Bursa on Wikivoyage.