The city of Bursa, from which the province of Bursa gets its name, is the fourth largest city in Turkey by population. It is an established industrial centre and is home to most of Turkey’s automotive industry. Situated on the north western slopes of Mount Uludağ ( Mysian Olympus ), it was, for a time, known as Hüdavendigar, meaning “God’s Gift” in Ottoman Turkish. Between 1335 and 1363 it was a major centre of influence being the capital and secondary capital of the empire.
Bursa is known for its parks and gardens and the beauty of the surrounding countryside. In fact, the city is often referred to as “Green Bursa”. The city is home to one of the most famous turkish dishes, the delicious Iskender Kebab, one of my favourites. The sweet dessert of sugared chestnuts ( Kestane Sekeri ) are also a speciality here. Two famous folklore characters, Karagöz and Hacivat, the shadow puppets are from Bursa. There is a musuem dedicated to them which illustrates the art of Karagöz with old photographs and memorabilia.
Mount Uludag provides an impressive scenic backdrop to the city and the ski resorts nearby. Bursa has much to offer for those who are interested in history. The early Ottoman Sultans are buried here and there are many impressive buildings, structures, and thermal baths from this period. Bursa is a charming city with plenty to see and do. It is a combination of modern and old with some stunning architecture and modern shopping centres.
Bursa as a settlement dates back to around 5200 BC and the ancient Greek city of Cius was established here. It was passed on to the Roman Empire in 74 BC and early Roman treasures found in Bursa are now in the British Museum. The city has long been an important trading post and power base. Despite Edirne becoming the capital of the Ottoman Empire the city of Bursa would remain an important commercial and administrative centre until Constantinople, present day Istanbul, was conquered by Mehmed II in 1453. Famous for its silk production until the 17th century, it slowly became one of the main power house cities of modern Turkey. One stop that you should make the effort to visit is the Koza Han with silk and textiles and plenty of unique retailers offering traditional wares.
Bursa, and its province, has seen mass immigration from the Balkans, mainly Bulgaria. The city is home to many well known automotive brands such as Fiat, Renaul and Karsan. Support factories from Bosch, Mako, Johnson Controls, Valeo and Delphi are established here. The textile and food industries also provide plenty of work with Coca-Cola and Pepsi-Cola canning their drinks here.
Just 36km outside the city at Mount Uludag the popular skiing resort attracts many local and foreign tourists. The thermal baths and abundance of good quality hotels and accommodation attract visitors to the region. They city has its own metro system and an airport with excellent main highway links that connect it to other major cities across Turkey. There is the Bursa Uludag Gondola Cable Car services which is 8.8 km or 5.5. miles long and which connects the city with the ski resort areas. There is also a railway station.
In and around Bursa there is much to see. This is not a city that you can visit in a day. Allow at least 2 to 3 days to appreciate it fully. It is rich in religious monuments and tombs and has some impressive architecture.
Bursa was one of the most influential muslim cities. For anyone interested in Islamic Art, history, culture and architecture, Bursa is the place to visit. The Ottoman Caliphate was the longest lasting Islamic dynasty the world has ever known. It was without doubt also the largest. For this reason Bursa has some of the most important mosques and shrines that you can find in Turkey. We have listed the main ones here, along with other city attractions, but they are all worth visiting.
The Grand Mosque ( Ulu Cami )
A Seljuk-style design and Ottoman architecture. Built between 1396 and 1399. It features 20 domes and 2 minarets. One of the most impressive mosques in the city. It is also the largest mosque in Bursa. Although of early Ottoman design it takes elements of architecture from the Seljuk period. Ordered by Sultand Bayezid I it is a large rectangular structure with 192 wall inscriptions and a fountain.
This is also referred to as the Complex of Sultan Murad II. It houses 12 tombs from Sultan Murad’s family and relatives. With its intricate design and ornate architecture it was restored after a large earthquake in 1855. It is located in the city centre.
The Green Mosque ( Yesil Cami )
The Green Mosque or Masjid Yesil in Turkish, is a large religious complex on the east side of Bursa. It was build by Mehmet I in the 15th century. The Green Mosque was not finished by the time the sultand died. It takes its name from its beautiful green and blue interior tile decorations and is said to be the most impressive mosque in Bursa. The mosque has a particularly impressive marble ablution fountain with an octagon shaped pool. The Green Tomb is next door.
The Green Tomb ( Yesil Turbe )
The Green tomb from Mehmed I is of particular interest because of its turquoise coloured tiles which give it the name of The Green Tomb. It was built in 1421 by Mehmet I and is a spectacular example of Ottoman tomb building.
The Grand Bazaar
You cannot visit Bursa without visiting the large covered bazaar with its souvenirs, quality textiles, jewellery and clothing as well as many other traditional artifacts and antiques. There is a real cultural atmosphere here and the large square surrounded by the arched hallways and shops also has some excellent food stalls, cafes and nearby restaurants.
This historic landmark is an impressive structure. Its Ottoman architecture with Islamic features was built by Murad I. The inside of the building is quite breathtaking and unique.
Bursa City Museum
To find out more about the local cutlure and heritage of the city we recommend the Bursa city Museum. The collection of artifcats and interesting contents will really give you an insight into the history of this region.
Bursa Archaeological Museum
The Bursa Archaeological museum houses a collection of treasures comprising of sculptures, artifacts and excavations of historic objects depicting the history of the city and the Ottoman era.
The Tophane Citadel can be found in Osmangazi which is the oldest part of the city. Listed in the UNESCO World Heritage listings the Tophane Citadel is near the tombs of Orhan and Osmam Gazi. Situated on a hill it has a good quality traditional Turkish restaurant and some spectacular views of the city. It is a popular tourist destination.
Nusretiye Clock Tower
Also situated in Tophane near the Nusretiye Mosque, is the impressive Nusretiye Clock Tower. It was built in 1905 as a fire watch tower. With its spectacular panoramic views of the busy urban life below and beyond this one should not be missed.
Reşat Oyal Culture Park
Bursa has several parks and some beautiful surrounding countryside but if you are going to visit one of the parks then make it this one. Comprising of 99 acres of park it was opened in 1955 and is home to the annual Bursa Festival. The park features its own lake, some stunning scenery and green shady peace and quiet away from the day to day hustle and bustle of city life.
Bursa Botanical Park
As an alternative to the Reşat Oyal Culture Park or preferably as an addition to it, the Bursa Botanical Park is a beautiful place to spend some time in the city and unwind, away from the crowds in a parkland with beautiful trees and a lake. Ideal for a picnic at lunch or evening time.
Tomb of Osman I
This tomb is the final resting place of one of the founders of the Ottoman Empire. Ornate and beautiful surroundings create this serene and enchanting environment. It is located close to the Nusretiye Clock Tower in the oldest part of Bursa and contains the tombs of Osman I and Orhan Gazi.
Whilst most tourists will not bother to visit a city zoo, this might be of interest to those travelling with children. It will also give you an insight as to how committed the zoo are to the welfare of their animals.
Bursa Uludag Gondola Ride
Although this is fast becoming a theme in many Turkish cities the cable car ride in Bursa stretches for an impressive 8.8 km or 5.5. miles from the city centre to the ski resort areas. It operates daily and you get to see a range of impressive landscapes as it makes its way from the city urban landscape across forest canopies with mountainous views.
The historic Irgandi Bridge was originally established in 1142 and changed, renovated and modernised many times. It was an important strategic landmark in the Turkish War of Independence.
Tofaş Museum of Cars and Anatolian Carriages
This little gem of a museum dedicated to cars and Anatolian carriages has a large and mixed collection of transpoart items from ancient to modern times. Ideal for car enthusiasts or those interested in transport history this museum has a gallery of old photographs that offer us the chance to look back on times gone by.
Bursa now has an impressive 360 degree Panoramic Museum called the Panorama 1326 Museum which is reputed to be the largest of its kind in the world. Here you can watch the documentaries and discover the history of the city of Bursa through film.
Places to stay
Bursa Muradiye Uygulama Oteli Bursa Adres ve İletişim
Kocanaip Mah. Doktor Ekrem Paksoy Sok. No: 16 Muradiye Osmangazi Bursa
Rezervasyon Telefon: 0224 221 38 25 Oteli Ara
Rezervasyon Telefon: 0545 679 93 00 Oteli Ara
Osmangazi Bursa Ögretmenevi
Şehreküstü Mahallesi Okul Caddesi No:4 Osmangazi Bursa, Tel: 0224 224 21 62