Bursa is a great stop, especially for those who are curious about Ottoman and Turkish-Islamic history. Bursa, one of the most crowded cities in the country, has been one of the 2-3 most important main points of the region along with Istanbul since the Ottoman times. For this reason, your trip to Bursa and the surrounding regions will satisfy you both historically and culturally, will make your stomach happy, and will allow you to relax in touch with nature.
How to get to Bursa?
Bursa is located in the south of Turkey compared to Istanbul and it takes about 2 hours to reach Bursa from Istanbul. The two most ideal routes for those who have a private vehicle are; to reach Yalova by ferry or Osmangazi Bridge and then to reach by road via Kocaeli. If you do not have your own vehicle, it is also possible to reach the center of Istanbul directly by taking the sea buses departing from ports such as Kadıköy, Eminönü, Yenikapı, and Kabataş. You can check the BUDO and İDO websites to find out the timetable of these sea buses. You can also choose intercity buses.
History of Bursa
Bursa is the second capital of the Ottoman Empire. Its history dates back to before the Ottoman Empire. Excavations around Bursa BC show that the region was a settlement even in 5200 BC. BC by the Kingdom of Bithynia. Although it was founded in the 3rd century, numerous countries and colonies dominated the region before this date. The first name of Bursa is "Prusa", the name of the King of Bithynia. But in some places, it is also referred to as "Bitania". From that time to the Ottoman period, Bursa's name and settlers changed many times, it remained under Roman rule for a long time and was called Prusa ad Olympium, which means the city at the skirts of the mountain Uludağ. Bursa's becoming a true Ottoman city begins with the siege of the Ottoman Chiefdom in 1326, which was still in the period of the chiefdom. After 1363, Bursa loses its feature of being the capital city and is even occupied by the Greeks for a short time, but despite everything, it manages to preserve its historical importance until today. Now, this is a nostalgic city of sultans, which many local and foreign tourists are eager to see. The traces of the Ottomans in Bursa have made Bursa a discovery point for history lovers since then. Numerous structures such as madrasahs, baths, inns, and mosques built during this period are very important in terms of both shedding light on Ottoman history and providing the opportunity to witness the atmosphere of the period. Even these features alone are enough to put Bursa on the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List.
What to eat in Bursa?
When people think of Turkey's richest and most delicious cuisine, Gaziantep comes to mind. However, we can easily say that Bursa can come in second place after Antep. You should come to Bursa hungry and you should fit a flavor stop between every historical place you visit, as you should never miss the flavors of Bursa. When Bursa is mentioned, the most important flavors that are engraved in everyone's mind are iskender, mihaliç cheese, tahini pita, and cantık. In addition to these, the real tastes of Ottoman cuisine will be presented to you in the restaurants serving in the category of home cooking, that is, mixed-served table dishes.
For pita with tahini, you can go to Tarihi Abdal Fırını (bakery), Kırmızı Fırın (bakery), or Tarihi İnanç Fırını (bakery). Tahini pita is a pastry that is eaten as a dessert. However, if you want to eat a kind of pizza-like pita or cantık eaten as a main course, you can choose Pidecioğlu, Kardeşler Pide Salonu, or Acı Dayı. You can stop by Darüzziyafe or Rumeli Kardesler tables to present various tastes from Ottoman cuisine.
Where to visit in Bursa?
Kozahan, one of the inns located on the silk road, and one of the most important trade routes of the world in ancient times, has been the accommodation place of the trade caravans passing through this road and also the shopping center of the people of Bursa, for centuries. On the second floor, you can find shawls and scarves made from the famous Bursa silk. After touring the shops in the inn, you can drink tea or coffee in the courtyard and eat halva from the famous semolina halva, Hacı Şerif.
Bursa Archeology Museum
If you are interested in visiting a large archaeological museum with 25,000 artifacts, you should definitely see the Bursa Archeology Museum. The history of some artifacts here dates back to 3,000 BC. A large number of finds obtained from archaeological studies from this date until the end of the Byzantine Period are exhibited in the museum. To give more concrete examples of some of the works in the museum, the Greco-Persian tomb stele, Roman period stone works, Cybele statues, Zeus-Herakles depictions, Byzantine bronze, silver, terracotta works, bronze busts of Athena and Apollo, coins and glass works can be counted.
Bursa City Museum
Bursa has a leading role in shaping Ottoman and traditional Turkish culture. If you are curious about the history of the city, its customs and traditions, and its commercial life, Bursa City Museum is the right address. Bursa City Museum, which has the title of Turkey's first city museum, displays much information and documents from the topographic model of the city to its geographical, cultural, social, and economic characteristics. With visual presentations, animations, objects, and animations, the museum is far from boring. Among the most interesting objects in the museum are the wax statues of 6 Ottoman sultans. The Historical Tradesmen Street in the basement is especially worth seeing!
Turkish-Islamic Arts Museum (The Green Madrasa)
Bursa is one of the most impressive cities in Turkey in terms of Islamic artifacts and structures. If you are especially interested in Turkish-Islamic history, Bursa's deep-rooted history in this field and the works it contains will attract your attention. There are many artifacts from the Seljuk and Ottoman Periods, dating from the 13th century to the 20th century.
Ulu Mosque, one of the symbols of Bursa, is a magnificent structure that everyone who visits the city should visit. The Grand Mosque, with its twenty domes, is known as the largest mosque in the country. The mosque, which was built by Bayezid I, is among the most precious examples of calligraphy in the Ottoman period.
Muradiye Complex, which is of great importance among the historical places in Bursa, is the last complex built during the Ottoman period. Built during the reign of Sultan Murat II, the complex includes a hammam, mosque, madrasah, and tombs. Complex “külliye” is one of the symbolic formations of Islamic architecture. You can go to the Muradiye neighborhood where the complex is located by public bus.
Tophane Clock Tower
The Tophane Clock Tower, which was first built by Sultan Abdulaziz, was demolished and rebuilt over the years and regained its final form. The 6-story and 4-clock tower is also used by the municipality for fire surveillance purposes. There are Osman Gazi and Orhan Gazi Tombs in the park where it is located.
Osman Gazi and Orhan Gazi Tombs
The tombs of Osman Bey and Orhan Bey, the founders of the Ottoman Empire, are located in Tophane Square.
Yeşil Türbe (Green Shrine)
Yeşil Türbe, one of the symbols of the Bursa, is a religious structure that can be seen from all over the city and is dazzling with its motifs. The mihrab, located in the two-story Yeşil Türbe, which also gives clear clues about 15th-century architecture, is among the few works of art of its period. In addition, all the walls of the Yeşil Türbe are covered with tiles, and with this feature, it is among the unique structures of the Ottoman period. You can enter Yeşil Türbe, which is a frequent destination for those who want to see Iznik tile making, from the street with the same name.
Tuzaklı Village, which is connected to the Osmangazi district, is one of the top Bursa picnic places with its nature that hosts every shade of green. Tuzaklı Village, which has a history of 900 years, has a magnificent view as its surroundings are completely forested. It is great for those who want to escape from the hectic pace of the city. Since it is a bit difficult to reach Tuzaklı in winter, it is useful to go especially in the spring and summer months to enjoy it fully.
Eski Aynalı Çarşı (Mirror Bazaar)
Eski Aynalı Çarşı, which was a bath in the Orhan Külliyesi in the past, is located next to Kozahan. The name of the bazaar, which is mostly served by antique shops today, comes from the mirrors hung on the walls by a merchant who came here after the last restoration work. By the way, there are also jewelers in the bazaar.
Osmangazi and Yıldırım Neighborhoods
Bursa is seen as an important place not only for Turks but also for human history, as it was the capital of the Ottoman Empire during the transition period from state to empire. Since historical buildings are clustered in Osmangazi and Yıldırım Neighborhoods, you can visit these places on foot.
Bursa Castle, Sultanate Gate, and City Walls
Bursa Castle is one of the oldest surviving structures in the city. Its foundations were laid during the reign of the Bithynia Kingdom, the first inhabitants of Bursa. BC of construction It is thought to date back to the 1st century, but since then, every stone has traces of Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman layers on it. The castle has 5 gates and 14 bastions on the walls, which are approximately 3.5 kilometers long. These gates are Yer Gate, Zindan Gate, Hisar Gate, Pınarbaşı Gate and Sıcak Bahar Gate. Although the Hisar Gate and the walls, which are located on Ortapazarı Street in the Tophane region and are the main entrance gate of the city (Saltanat Gate), were destroyed in the 7.0 magnitude Bursa earthquake of 1855, they can still be visited today thanks to the restorations.
Baths of Bursa
You can take a bath worthy of sultans in the precious thermal waters of Bursa, known as the city of sultans. When Bursa became rich in natural mineral underground spring waters, the pleasure of a bath became one of its inseparable rituals for centuries. Although there are many modern baths nowadays, it is another pleasure to go to 500-600-year-old baths and remember old customs.
Uludağ, which is one of the centers of winter tourism not only in the city but also in Turkey, is the most suitable alternative for those who want to have a ski holiday. The snow thickness is at its best for skiing in January-February. If you prefer to go there by bus, some companies provide direct access to Uludağ. In addition, it is possible to come to the mountain from the Bursa city center. The cable car is an important means of transportation for Bursa. Therefore, Uludağ is located at a point that can be easily reached from the city center with the cable car and chairlift.
Tirilye, the small but full town of Bursa, is a region that is connected to the Mudanya district and is also dazzling with its historical texture. Life in Tirilye, an old fishing village, is quite calm. When talking about places to visit in Tirilye, old Greek houses, churches, fountains, and mosques should come to mind first. Although structures such as Taş Mektep, Kemerli Church, Dündar House, Fatih Mosque, and Medikion Monastery seem neglected at first because they have not been restored, these places have witnessed history, so they should at least be seen from the outside. If you like fish and seafood, the fish restaurants here offer both delicious and affordable options. While you are in Tirilye, you can also stop by the farmer's market to buy olives and olive oils, which are considered among the world's rare delicacies. In the meantime, you can also consider the alternative of staying in Mudanya and visiting Tirilye for a day.
Gölyazı, which is connected to the Nilüfer district of Bursa, has started to become popular recently. It is a little island located on Uluabat Lake. Gölyazı, which is connected to the highway via a bridge, is also a region where many administrations from the Ottoman Empire to the Byzantine Empire left their traces. It is said that Gölyazı was the capital of the Kingdom of Apollo. Among the places to visit in Gölyazı, the Church of St. Panteleimon, the Temple of Apollo, and the old Greek houses should be seen. Besides, since this is a fishing village, you should taste the local delicacy of pike fish. In addition, it is possible to enjoy breakfast against the lake by feeling the peaceful atmosphere of bird sounds in large and small venues by the lake. While there isn't much variety, a few venues here live up to expectations. If you are open to different experiences, you can also experience a boat tour in Gölyazı. Another activity that should not be missed here is watching the sunset from Zambak Hill. Especially for those who like to take pictures, this place offers a wonderful view.
Bursa Cumalıkızık, which has survived since the Ottoman period and has maintained its popularity, is a village on the outskirts of Uludağ in the district of Yıldırım. As in every point in Bursa, a magnificent view first greets the travelers in Cumalıkızık. The beautiful houses of Cumalıkızık are at the top of the list of places to visit here. The houses, which stand out with their wooden, adobe, and stone features, are visited by many people at all times of the year with their colorful walls.
Did you know that Bursa has the longest direct cable car line in the world with 9 kilometers? The system, which was put into service in 1963 as Turkey's first cable car, saves lives as an alternative to the highway between Bursa Center and Uludağ, thanks to its 140 cabins and a carrying capacity of 1500 people per hour. At the same time, it is a pleasant one-day getaway with its activities at the stops, accompanied by a panoramic view of Uludağ. The atmosphere of the snowy mountains in winter is magnificent. Even if you are not going to ski or snowboard, you can come and breathe some mountain air. It is a good program in itself to come for a day in summer or spring and enjoy the view and have a picnic. As you can see, Uludag is beautiful in all four seasons by cable car.
This old bazaar bridge in the Yıldırım region was built in 1442. Despite major earthquakes and wars, it managed to survive. There is a market on the bridge. With this feature, it is one of the few bridges in the world with a bazaar on it. There are 3 other bridges in the world, similar to the Irgandı Bridge in our country, with a bazaar on it: The Bridge over the Osma River in Lofça, Bulgaria, the Ponte Vecchio Bridge in Florence, Italy, and the Rialto Bridge in Venice, Italy. You can take a look at the handicrafts and craftsmanship of Bursa craftsmen in the shops on the bridge. Shops on the bridge are closed on Mondays. Some are closed on Sundays. After Irgandı Bridge, your stop should be to drink salep at Mahfel. Only 3 minutes away on foot.
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