The northwestern Turkish city of Bursa, briefly capital of the Ottoman Empire for 39 years in the 14th century when it was known as “God’s Gift”, is currently a thriving industrial centre in a mostly verdant environment. With the mighty Mount Uludag, a famous ski resort, nearby and a prosperous valley at its feet, Bursa is very well positioned for natural beauty. In addition, the natural Thermal spas, grand Ottoman Sultan mausoleums and other antiquities from several historic periods make Bursa a very interesting place to visit.
Bursa’s location is where Cius, an Ancient Greek city, was gifted by Philip V of Macedon to the Prussians, thereby renamed Prussa. It was later ‘given’ to the Romans, eventually captured by the Byzantines and finally the Ottomans, who made it the first major capital city of their mighty empire.
Unless going skiing, summer’s a good time to visit Bursa, as it’s particularly pleasant at the various nearby mountainous locations. However, the city itself can be warm and humid.
Major attractions include the Bursa city walls which you can walk around, the Green Mosque (Yesil Cami), the Bursa and Karacabey Grand Mosques and the ornate Irgandi Covered Bridge. Yildirim Bazaar (market) can be pretty colourful. The Karabas-i Veli Cultural Centre and the Archeology, Turkish Architecture, Atatürk and Islamic Works Museums contain unique treasures.
Although Turkish cuisine tends to be very tasty in general, Bursa’s specialities such the local lokum (Turkish delight), candied peaches and İskender kebap are worth sampling.
Try attending a typically Turkish, traditional Hacivat or Karagoz shadow-play theatrical performance, where historic and current personalities are represented through exaggerated wooden cut-outs, which are controlled by attached sticks.
Bursa’s hot springs and Çelik Palas thermal bath will provide very unique experiences. Bursa Zoo/Botanical Garden and Uludag National Park are popular attractions. For day trips from Bursa, the nearby towns of İznik (previously Greek Nicaea), Zeytinbag and Mudanya are crammed with history.
As well as writing about travel, Karen Bryan offers tips on saving money, frugal living and how to live well on less, on her site Help Me To Save
|Christine & Hagen Graf|