It is a green paradise lying on the skirts of Uludag. Bursa is known as Green Bursa with its parks and fruit gardens. This province takes its name from the Bithynian king, Prussias. Until it was conquered in 1326 and announced as the capital by Orhan Gazi, who is the son of Osman Gazi, the founder of Ottoman Empire, Bursa had been under the sovereignty of Romans and Byzantines. Therefore, many Ottoman artifacts enable the city to have an identity peculiar to its own.
You can start your Bursa city tour by visiting Green Tomb (Yesil Turbe) located on the east of the city. The tomb, which is located on the hill across the Green Mosque in Yesil district, was built by the architect Haci Ivaz Pasha in the request of Mehmet Celebi during the years 1414-1421. In the tomb, which was decorated with the excellent forms of Ottoman decorative art, especially turquoise ceramic tiles and embroidery on the wooden doors attract attention. And inside, situating in the middle of the octagonal platform, the sarcophagus of Seljuk Hatun (Lady), the daughter of Celebi Sultan Mehmet’s, all covered with ceramic tiles and epigraph with relieves and also having a color of dark blue on a white base, the hexagonal sarcophagus of Sitti Hatun decorated with ceramic tiles having triangle motifs constitute some other models of Ottoman decorative art. Moreover, the mihrab (niche) of Green Tomb with ceramic tile, resembling Green Mosque’s, is also one of the successful examples of decorative art.
Green Mosque is as much decorated as Green Tomb. Green Mosque, which was completed in 1424, attracts attention especially with its crown gate having spectacular stonework. Sultaniye Madrasa in Kulliye (a complex of buildings adjacent to a mosque) furnishes service today as Turkish- Islamic Museum.
While touring Bursa, you can sit and rest in one of the old cafe stalls (kahvehane) having a tea. The local taste, Iskender Kebabi (The meat on a special mechanism is turned around to roast, after being cut with a doner knife they are spread over pide-pitta like bread- and served with yoghurt and tomato sauce and melted butter) is worth trying. Just in the past, Bursa is still a province famous not only for its silk and towel fabric and textile but also for its thermal waters.
You should also see Emir Sultan Mosque during your visit to Bursa. To this mosque, which was first built as one vaulted, a courtyard and an arcade with three domes were added. Today, from the initial state of the tomb not much remained. Having an octagonal plan, today’s Tomb was built in 1868 at the time of Sultan Abdulaziz and it is an interesting monument.
When you arrive at the old settlement area of the city you will see Kulliye of Sultan Yildirim Bayezit, whose construction finished in 1399. In Kulliye, there are mosque, madrasa, tomb, Turkish bath (hamam), hospital and stable buildings, service rooms. The most significant characteristic of this kulliye is that it enables you to trace easily the transition from Seljuk period construction model to Ottoman’s.
If you enjoy the cafe stalls in Ataturk Street and Republic Avenue, decorated with flowers and water jets to rest, you would gather energy necessary for visiting many other places in Bursa.
Koza (Cocoon) Han is the first place that comes to mind when one thinks of the centre of silk industry. It is still a lively commercial center to date. You can find a variety of fabric and clothing in this public house.
When you go to Koza Han, just behind it there locate Fidan Han, Pirinc Han, Emir Han, Ipek (Silk) Han, the most biggest of Bursa, and Uzun (Long) Bazaar, and Old Goldsmiths’ Bazaar. You should also bear in mind that they are commercial centers you should go and see.
The Grand Mosque, which is around the han, was built by Yildirim Bayezid and completed in 1400. The fountain (sadirvan) of the mosque, which is one of the most classical ones in multi-domed mosques with its 20 domes, is interestingly not in the courtyard but in the mosque itself. The plan of the construction was developed using Ottoman models.
When you make your way from the Grand Mosque to west, you would arrive at Hisar Neighborhood, which has a scenic view. In a park locating in that area, where you can have a bird’s eye views of Bursa, there are tombs of the founder of Ottoman Empire, Osman Gazi and the Conqueror of Bursa, Orhan Gazi.
Coffee stalls in Tophane may be a good choice for a short break. Near around in “Ressamlar Sokagi (Painters’ Street)” the artists work in the open air. From the teagarden in Yildiz Parki there is a chance of having an excellent view of Muradiye Kulliyesi. Muradiye Kulliyesi, which was built by Sultan Murat II between the years 1424-1426, consists of a mosque, a madrasa, an alms house, a Turkish bath and 12 tombs. The tombs belong to Murat II and his family. The wooden gate handworks of the mosque fascinate.
By Muradiye Kulliyesi, there is a chalet, which dates back to 17. Century and was restored to become a museum, sheds light on its own time. Kultur Parki (Culture Park), where Bursa Archeological Museum and Ataturk Museum situate, is also worth seeing.
Locating on the west of the province, Cekirge was already famous for its thermal waters abundant of mineral during Roman Age. Although in the area of thermal waters many modern hotel building were erected, the Turkish baths, which have a long history, still function and attract attention. New Turkish bath (Yeni Hamam) was built by Sadrazam of Sultan Suleiman, Rustem Pasha. In 1552.The Old Turkish bath, on the other hand, were constructed above Byzantine baths and it is the oldest one in the province. The best of all thermal waters is said to be the spa in Karamustafa Pasha.
One of the most important historical artifacts in Cekirge is the Kulliye, which was built between the years 1366-1385 by Sultan Murat I (Hudavendigar). The first storey of this two-storey construction, which is a matchless example of Ottoman Architecture, is a mosque and the upper is a madrasa. The tomb of Sultan Murat I (Hudavendigar), who died a martyr in Kosovo War I in 1389, is situated across the Hudavendigar Mosque.
If you go 3 km towards Uludag road from Cekirge you will see 600 year-old ‘Inkaya Cınari (Plane)’ which has a diameter of 10 m and a height of 36 m. This famous plane, having monumental value, is worth seeing.
Locating 11 km far from Bursa, Cumalikizik deserves visiting. Cumalikizik is a part of the history with its 700 year-old houses, lively ongoing life. This nearly untouched village is preserved as a protected area with its narrow streets, charming houses it brings Ottoman village architecture, daily life, customs and traditions to our modern world.
Uludag (2543m), whose peak is 36 km far from Bursa, can be reached by car or cable car easily. It was used to be known as Olympus of Mysia in antique age and as the Mountain of Monk in the time of Ottoman. It is the first ski center of Turkey. Hotels are located in Kirazlikaya, which has a altitude of 2000 m. In Uludag there are 11 different ski runs for different skiers of each-level. The longest run, whose number is 1, is 2232 meters long. In addition to its being an ideal place to ski between December and May, Uludag with its National Park having excellent scenery is among the places to see all along the year. Kilimli, Karagol, Aynaligol and Buzlu golu, all of which are known as ring lakes lie 2300 meters high. The ones who feel sure of themselves can reach those heavenly lakes on foot.
With its fish restaurants and night clubs much favored by residents of Bursa, the coastal city Mudanya locates 25 km far from Bursa. In Mudanya, Armistice Museum is worth seeing. Tahir Pasha’s Residence (Mansion) which dates beck to 17.century serves as Turkish-Islamic Museum today. If you are to go Zeytinbag (Trilya), which is located 12 km far from Mudanya, you can taste the olives of quality. Siye is closer to Mudanya. Carsaf Flan (Carsaf Boregi) and Turkish delight with walnut are peculiar to Siye. Both Zeytinbag and Siye are ideal stops to swim.
Gemlik Bay, which is 29 km far from Bursa, is worth visiting with its resorts in Armutlu and Kumla. We should remind those who want to benefit from thermal waters that thermal waters in Armutlu is said to be good for diseases of rheumatism.
When we say Bursa, another thing coming to our minds is the heroes of famous Turkish shadow theatre, Karagoz and Hacivat. Being unforgettable names of shadow theatre they are said to have lived in Bursa. Today there is a monument of Karagoz in Bursa. www.bursa.bel.trwww.bursa.gov.tr