Bursa lies in the northwestern part of Turkey near the sea of Marmara. The city was the first ever capital of the Ottoman Empire. It’s the fourth largest city of Turkey after Istanbul, Ankara, and Izmir. It is famous for its peach, chestnut and silk industries, although lately, heavy industry located in the outskirts of the city, have surpassed these traditional industries. As it was the first capital of the Ottoman Empire, it has a lot of historical places to see. Furthermore, Uludağ -one of the highest mountains in the Turkey – lies very close to Bursa and is the main winter sports center of Turkey.
Bursa is settled on the northwestern slopes of Mount Uludağ in the southern Marmara Region. It is bordered by the Sea of Marmara and Yalova to the north; Kocaeli and Sakarya to the northeast; Bilecik to the east; and Kütahya and Balıkesir to the south.
The city is frequently cited as “Yeşil Bursa” (meaning “Green Bursa”) in a reference to the parks and gardens located across its urban tissue, as well as to the vast forests in rich variety that extend in its surrounding region. The city is synonymous with Mount Uludağ which towers behind its core and which is also a famous ski resort. The mausoleums of early Ottoman sultans are located in Bursa and the numerous edifices built throughout the Ottoman period constitute the city’s main landmarks. The surrounding fertile plain, its thermal baths, several interesting museums, notably a rich museum of archaeology, and a rather orderly urban growth are further principal elements that complete Bursa’s overall picture.
The earliest known site at this location was Cius, which Philip V of Macedonia granted to the Bithynian king Prusias I in 202 BC, for his help against Pergamum and Heraclea Pontica (modern Karadeniz Ereğli). Prusias renamed the city after himself, as Prusa.
Prusa evolved into one of the largest cities of Mysia and retained its importance for the region throughout the Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine periods. Its strategic location on the westernmost end of the famous Silk Road ensured Prusa to remain as one of the largest centers of silk trade throughout the Medieval period.
Bursa became the first major capital city of the early Ottoman Empire following its capture from the Byzantines in 1326. As a result, the city witnessed a considerable amount of urban growth throughout the 14th century. After conquering Edirne (Adrianople) in 1365 the Ottomans turned it into a joint capital city for governing their European realms, but Bursa remained the most important Anatolian administrative and commercial center even after it lost its status as the sole Ottoman capital. The Ottoman sultan Bayezid I built the Bayezid Külliyesi (Bayezid I theological complex) in Bursa between 1390 and 1395 and the Ulu Cami (Great Mosque) between 1396 and 1400.
During the Ottoman period, Bursa continued to be the source of most royal silk products. Aside from the local silk production, the city imported raw silk from Iran, and occasionally from China, and was the main production center for the kaftans, pillows, embroidery and other silk products for the Ottoman palaces until the 17th century.
Another traditional artisanship in the city, among many others, is knife production, which still continues today. Historically, the city was a center for the production of horse carriages during the Ottoman period. In the latter half of the 20th century, Bursa became the largest center of motor vehicle production in Turkey.
The city has a metro line connecting downtown with suburbs in the northwest. There is also an extensive bus and dolmuş network. The dolmuşes in Bursa are more likely to be a normal looking white car with a sign on the roof rather than the yellow minibuses that are common in Istanbul.
Places to see
- Ulucami, (in downtown),The “great mosque” of Bursa. Built in early Ottoman period, in 1399, it resembles more of earlier Seljuq buildings of inland Anatolia than the typical Ottoman mosques such as Blue Mosque of Istanbul built later.
- Orhan Camii ve Külliyesi (Orhan Mosque)
- Yeşil Camii(Green Mosquee)
- Muradiye Camii
- Hüdavendigar Camii
- Yıldırım Camii
- Koca Sinan Paşa
- İshak Paşa Külliyeleri
- Celal Bayar Müzesi