Bursa

Bursa is the fourth biggest town in Turkey and it is just three and a half hours far from Istanbul by coach. It is used to be called Green Bursa. Just a couple of decades ago the town was much smaller than today and it was surrounded with peach orchards that are replaced with car plantations and textile factories and residential districts in the last three decades.

It is important tourist destination because Bursa is the early capital of the Ottoman Empire. It became the capital when Ottomans were transforming from a nomadic tent society into a princedom. They became a powerful kingdom in a century.

Bursa has many early Ottoman structures. Among them, Ulu Mosque and Green Mosque are incredibly beautiful. Ulu (Grand or Holy) Mosque was completed in 1399 in the reign of Beyazid I the Thunder. It has 20 domes and has a beautiful ablution fountain in the middle of the mosque. The sound of water from this huge marble fountain dominates the temple. The altar and pulpit are extremely beautiful and show the period’s artistic values.

The Green Mosque construction was completed in 1419 in the reign of Mehmed I the Educated. The decoration of the mosque was completed in 1424. The mosque has magnificent tiles that named the mosque. The whole building is used as a mosque today. However, when it was first built, it had a roofed courtyard with a skylight and on two sides’ two chambers and two bays. The royal chamber above the entrance dominates the mosque. Green Mosque has so different plan than classical Ottoman mosques.

Bursa is famous with silk production. There are villages around the town that are specialized in cocoon breeding. They feed them with finely cut mulberry leaves. There is a 15th century market in the middle of the town that is called Koza Han (Cocoon Market).

There are also many chestnut trees in the region so chestnut candy (maron glasse) is a famous delicacy of the town. The traditional dish to have in Bursa is Iskender kebab. It is thin slices of meat on pieces of pita bread served with yogurt on the side. It is enriched with tomato and butter sauces on the top.

Bursa is also a famous spa centre. Istanbul Turkish baths have to heat water but Bursa has hot springs and abundant water reserves. There are 15th, 16th century Turkish baths in the town still in function. 

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