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Muradiye, Çekirge and Random Bursa Pics

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More from Our Trip to Bursa
Introduction | The Green Mosque and Tomb | Gazi Plaza and the Market | Karagöz Puppets

Bursa is stretched out along the base of Mount Uludağ, and so its main sights are laid out on a long, almost straight line. The Yeşil Camii to the east, Gazi Park in the center, and the wonderful neighborhood of Muradiye to the west. Even further east is Çekirge, home to the city’s famous thermal spas.

Bursa Kebap House

Though it’s a few kilometers from the city center, the neighborhood of Çekirge is the nexus of Bursa’s hamam scene, and hosts its most well-known hotels. This is the place to stay for those whose primary interest in Bursa is bathing; an activity which really is the highlight for many. Built for sultans and well-maintained throughout the ages, the Yeni (new) and Eski (old) Baths in Çekirge are both supposed to be excellent. We walked into the Eski Kaplıca, but didn’t have enough time for a scrub. A shame, since it looked incredible and was far cheaper than comparable hamams in Istanbul.

Midway between the town center and Çekrige is charming Muradiye. High on a hill, this neighborhood boasts views over the valley, and centers around the Muradiye Mosque (unfortunately closed for renovation during our visit). Muradiye has not changed much throughout the years, and preserves a number of Ottoman-era houses. One of the best, the Hüsnü Züber House, is usually opened to the public but, like the mosque, was shuttered when we stopped by.

Muradiye was the last neighborhood we saw in Bursa before returning to the ferry back to Istanbul. One and a half days was not nearly enough time, and we often felt frustrated while rushing from one sight to the next, without being able to properly enjoy any of them. Three full days would have been better. Still, we came away with both a good impression of Bursa, and a camera full of photos.

Locations on our Bursa Map: Eski Kaplıca | Muradiye

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June 17, 2013 at 3:18 pm Comments (6)

Gazi Park and Bursa’s Covered Market

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More from Our Trip to Bursa
Introduction | The Green Mosque and Tomb | Karagöz Puppets | Muradiye and Around

Squeezed between two amazing mosques and the covered market, Gazi Park is the heart of Bursa, and was the logical place to begin our exploration of the city.

Bursa Silk Han

The Ottoman Empire is generally thought to have emerged in 1299, beginning with the ascension of Osman Gazi. Osman united a number of Turkish emirates and, just before his death in 1326, was able to capture Bursa (then the Byzantine city of Prousa). It was the first great military victory of the nascent empire, and far from the last.

Bursa enjoyed its golden years during the reign of Osman’s son, Orhan, who promoted it to capital of his young empire. So it was no surprise to find a mosque here named in his honor. The Orhan Gazi Camii was built in 1339, in the center of the city. Unfortunately, due to funerary proceedings, we weren’t able to spend more than a couple seconds inside, and instead walked a few meters over to another ancient mosque.

The Ulu Camii was built in 1399 by Orhan’s grandson Bayezid I, who went by the name of “Yıldırım” (“Thunderbolt“). He earned this nickname for his military acumen, which was especially evident during one of the greatest Ottoman victories of all time. In the 1396 Battle of Nicopolis, Bayezid’s men routed a combined force of Germans, French, Bulgarians, Italians, Romanians and Hungarians: basically the entire Christian army of Europe.

Before the battle, Beyazid had vowed to erect twenty mosques in Bursa should he emerge victorious. Perhaps he didn’t expect to win, because instead of the twenty promised mosques, he ended up building just one. But he gave it twenty domes, apparently hoping nobody would remember his exact wording… or at least dare to question him on it. The resulting Ulu Camii is one of the more architecturally interesting mosques we’ve seen. The twenty small domes are arranged in a 4×5 grid, lending the interior a sense of grandiosity.

Grand Bazaar Bursa

Just outside of the Ulu Camii is the entrance to the Koza Han, or “Cocoon Hall”. Bursa was once the final stop on the Silk Road from China and, throughout the centuries, the fine fabric has been the focus of this market. Hundreds of vendors in the beautiful old han concentrate on silk, with prices that are more than reasonable.

The Koza Han is connected to Bursa’s bewildering covered bazaar, which extends in all directions through halls, into courtyards, down underground, along tiny passages and onto upper floor terraces looking down on tea gardens. In terms of size and confusion, Bursa’s bazaar is nearly the equal of Istanbul’s. The main difference? Things are much cheaper. We picked up a coffee grinder for a third of the price we’d seen in the Grand Bazaar. In retrospect, we should have done all of our souvenir shopping during our stay in Bursa.

Locations on our Bursa Map: Orhan Gazi Camii | Ulu Camii | Koza Han

Hotels In Bursa. BOOK NOW!!!

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June 17, 2013 at 7:20 am Comment (1)

An Excursion to Bursa

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More from Our Trip to Bursa
The Green Mosque and Tomb | Gazi Plaza and the Market | Karagöz Puppets | Muradiye and Around

Bursa is Turkey’s fourth-largest city, and was capital of the Ottoman Empire a hundred years before Constantinople had even been conquered. It makes for a great excursion from Istanbul, almost directly across the Sea of Marmara.

Bursa Ferry Istanbul

“Excursion”, I say. “Day Trip”. We planned for about a day and a half in Bursa. This is a city of 1.7 million people. That’s more than the entire state of Idaho, to which we devoted a full 91 days! It was ridiculous to think that we could comfortably see this huge city in such a short amount time, but we put in a good effort. Luckily, most of Bursa’s sights are clustered closely together and, by the end of our trip, we had accomplished more than expected.

Bursa had long been a Byzantine backwater, and only rose to prominence in 1326 after the arrival of the Ottoman Turks. With its strategic (and beautiful) location along Mount Uludağ and within range of the Marmara, Bursa was made capital and grew steadily over the centuries. It was at the western end of the Silk Route, and has long been a major center of trade. Today it’s a sprawling metropolis, and home to Turkey’s auto industry.

It took us about three hours to reach Bursa from Istanbul. We hopped on a speed ferry leaving from Kabataş (2 hrs), and then had to employ both bus (40 mins) and metro (20 mins) to reach the city center. This was the first Turkish city we’ve visited, apart from Istanbul, and we noticed immediately how different it is. Very few tourists. Cheaper. Less English spoken among locals who are far less willing to have their pictures taken. More religious, and with far fewer places to grab a beer.

As you’ll see in our pictures, the weather was not our ally during our short time in Bursa. It was consistently overcast, and the city’s famous mountain views almost completely obscured. But that didn’t detract too much from the experience. Bursa was a lot of fun, and there are plenty of reasons to make the journey to Istanbul’s little sister across the sea.

Location on our Map

Book Your Bursa Hotel Here

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June 16, 2013 at 2:23 pm Comments (0)
Muradiye, ekirge and Random Bursa Pics Bursa is stretched out along the base of Mount Uludağ, and so its main sights are laid out on a long, almost straight line. The Yeşil Camii to the east, Gazi Park in the center, and the wonderful neighborhood of Muradiye to the west. Even further east is Çekirge, home to the city's famous thermal spas.
For 91 Days