Nestled in northwestern Turkey, Bursa is a city rich in history, culture, and natural beauty. Often referred to as “Green Bursa” due to its lush landscapes and parks, this city has a lot to offer to travelers seeking a unique and immersive Turkish experience. Bursa is renowned for its historic significance, as it was the first capital of the Ottoman Empire, and it continues to be a cultural and economic hub. In this article, we will explore ten must-visit tourist attractions in Bursa, Turkey, each showcasing a different aspect of this charming city.
1. Grand Mosque (Ulu Camii)
The Grand Mosque of Bursa, also known as Ulu Camii, is a historic mosque in Bursa, Turkey. It was commissioned by the Ottoman Sultan Bayezid I to commemorate his great victory at the Battle of Nicopolis and built between 1396 and 1399. The mosque is a major monument of early Ottoman architecture and one of the most important mosques in the city, located in the heart of the old city alongside its historic markets.
The mosque is a large rectangular building measuring 55 by 69 meters with an interior surface area of 3165.5 square meters. It has three entrances (to the north, west and east), of which the northern entrance is the most monumental. Its interior space is covered by twenty domes arranged in four rows of five that are supported by twelve columns. The space can hold 5000 individuals. A popular tradition holds that Sultan Bayezid I built a mosque of twenty domes instead of building twenty separate mosques which he had promised in return for winning the Battle of Nicopolis in 1396.
The mosque is also notable for its rich interior decoration, which includes calligraphy, woodwork, and tilework. The mihrab, or prayer niche, is particularly impressive, and is decorated with a large calligraphic inscription.
The Grand Mosque of Bursa is an important religious center for Muslims in Bursa and throughout Turkey. It is a popular place for prayer and contemplation, and it also hosts a number of religious events and ceremonies throughout the year.
The Grand Mosque of Bursa is also an important cultural landmark in Bursa. It is a symbol of the city’s rich history and heritage, and it is a popular tourist destination. The mosque is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Visiting the Grand Mosque
The Grand Mosque of Bursa is open to visitors every day from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. There is no admission fee, but visitors are asked to dress respectfully.
- The mosque is located in the heart of the old city of Bursa, and is a short walk from the city’s other major attractions, such as the Green Mosque and the Silk Bazaar.
- The mosque is a popular place for prayer, so visitors are asked to be respectful of those who are praying.
- Visitors are also asked to dress modestly, as the mosque is a religious site.
2. Koza Han
Nestled in the heart of Bursa, Turkey, Koza Han stands as a testament to the city’s rich history and cultural heritage. This grand edifice, constructed in the 15th century under the reign of Sultan Bayezid II, served as a bustling center for silk trade, earning Bursa its reputation as a pivotal hub along the Silk Road.
Stepping into the vast courtyard of Koza Han, one is immediately transported to a bygone era. The two-story structure, adorned with a series of arches and adorned with intricate tilework, exudes an air of timeless elegance. The lower level, once teeming with merchants and traders, now houses a myriad of shops showcasing an array of silk products, from scarves and garments to carpets and decorative items.
Ascending the stone staircase, visitors reach the upper level, where a tranquil ambiance prevails. Here, a series of cafes and tea houses offer respite from the bustling city life, inviting guests to savor a cup of traditional Turkish tea while soaking in the serene atmosphere.
Koza Han’s allure extends beyond its architectural splendor. The Han has long been a cherished gathering place for locals and travelers alike, fostering a sense of community and cultural exchange. Within its walls, stories are shared, friendships are forged, and the spirit of Bursa’s heritage is kept alive.
Whether seeking a glimpse into Bursa’s silk-trading post, indulging in a moment of tranquility, or simply immersing oneself in the city’s vibrant atmosphere, Koza Han stands as an enduring landmark, beckoning visitors to discover its timeless charm.
3. Green Mosque (Yeşil Camii)
The Green Mosque, also known as the Mosque of Mehmed I, is a 15th-century Ottoman mosque located in Bursa, Turkey. It is considered one of the most important examples of early Ottoman architecture and is renowned for its exquisite tilework and decorative details.
The mosque was commissioned by Sultan Mehmed I, the founder of the Ottoman Empire, and constructed between 1419 and 1424. It was designed by architect Hacı İvaz Pasha, who also oversaw the construction of the nearby Green Tomb, the mausoleum of Sultan Mehmed I.
The Green Mosque is a two-story structure built on an inverted T-plan. The central prayer hall is flanked by two iwans (vaulted halls) on the east and west sides. The mosque’s exterior is relatively simple, but the interior is richly decorated with colorful tiles, intricate carvings, and calligraphic inscriptions.
The mosque’s most striking feature is its extensive tilework, which covers the walls, pillars, and mihrab (prayer niche). The tiles are predominantly green, giving the mosque its name, and feature intricate floral and geometric patterns. The tilework is considered one of the finest examples of Ottoman craftsmanship.
- Other Decorative Elements
In addition to the tilework, the mosque is adorned with other decorative elements, including carved marble panels, stained glass windows, and calligraphic inscriptions. The mihrab, in particular, is a masterpiece of Ottoman art, featuring intricate carvings and calligraphy.
The Green Mosque is considered a masterpiece of early Ottoman architecture and is a popular tourist destination in Bursa. It is a testament to the artistic and architectural achievements of the Ottoman Empire and continues to inspire visitors with its beauty and craftsmanship.
4. Green Tomb (Yeşil Türbe)
- An Architectural Marvel
The Green Tomb, or Yeşil Türbe in Turkish, is a remarkable mausoleum located in Bursa, Turkey. It stands as a testament to the architectural prowess of the early Ottoman Empire and is considered a masterpiece of early Ottoman architecture. The tomb was constructed in 1421 to honor the fifth Ottoman Sultan, Mehmed I, upon his passing. It was commissioned by his son and successor, Murad II, and designed by the renowned architect Hacı Ivaz Pasha. The tomb’s striking beauty and intricate craftsmanship have captivated visitors for centuries.
- A Hexagonal Gem
The Green Tomb’s unique hexagonal structure sets it apart from other traditional Ottoman tombs. It is perched atop a hill in the Yeşil neighborhood, towering over the surrounding complex. The tomb’s exterior is adorned with a mesmerizing array of green-blue tiles, a feature that has earned it the name “Green Tomb.” These tiles, crafted in İznik, were largely replaced with contemporary Kütahya tiles following an earthquake in 1855.
- A Dome of Majesty
The tomb’s crowning glory is its majestic hemispheric dome, a testament to the architectural ingenuity of the time. The interior of the tomb is equally impressive, with intricate muqarnas niches and marble seats flanking the entrance. The walls are adorned with İznik tiles featuring intricate flower patterns in blue, white, and yellow, creating a mesmerizing visual symphony.
- A Symbol of Reverence
The Green Tomb is not merely an architectural marvel; it is a symbol of deep reverence and historical significance. It serves as the final resting place of Mehmed I, a ruler known for his wisdom and benevolence. The tomb’s construction by his son, Murad II, reflects the deep respect and admiration held for the late Sultan.
- A Cultural Treasure
Today, the Green Tomb stands as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, recognized for its cultural and historical significance. It is a popular tourist destination, drawing visitors from around the globe to marvel at its architectural splendor and immerse themselves in the rich history of the Ottoman Empire.
The Green Tomb is a true gem of Bursa, Turkey, and a testament to the artistry and craftsmanship of the early Ottoman era. Its unique hexagonal structure, mesmerizing tilework, and majestic dome make it a must-see for any visitor to the region.
5. Muradiye Complex
Nestled amidst the verdant hills of Bursa, Turkey, the Muradiye Complex stands as an exquisite testament to Ottoman architectural prowess. Commissioned by Sultan Murad II in the 15th century, this sprawling complex encompasses a mosque, tombs, a madrasa, and a charitable kitchen, collectively embodying the pinnacle of early Ottoman design.
The Muradiye Mosque, the centerpiece of the complex, captivates with its elegant simplicity. Its harmonious proportions and understated ornamentation exude an air of serenity, inviting contemplation and reflection. Within its tranquil interior, graceful arches and delicate calligraphic inscriptions adorn the walls, while a symphony of light streams through stained-glass windows, casting mesmerizing patterns onto the prayer hall.
Adjacent to the mosque lies a cluster of 12 tombs, each a masterpiece in its own right. These mausoleums, adorned with exquisite tilework and intricate carvings, serve as the final resting places of Sultan Murad II, his family members, and prominent figures of the Ottoman era. The tombs’ intricate designs, featuring floral motifs, geometric patterns, and calligraphic inscriptions, showcase the finesse of Ottoman craftsmanship.
The Muradiye Madrasa, once a hub of Islamic learning, stands as a testament to the Ottomans’ commitment to education. Its classrooms, once bustling with scholarly discourse, now echo with the whispers of history. The madrasa’s architecture, characterized by its harmonious proportions and delicate ornamentation, reflects the Ottomans’ deep reverence for knowledge and pursuit of enlightenment.
Complementing the complex is the imaret, a charitable kitchen that once provided sustenance to the needy. This embodiment of Ottoman benevolence served as a lifeline for the less fortunate, embodying the empire’s compassion and social responsibility.
The Muradiye Complex, with its harmonious blend of architectural styles and serene atmosphere, stands as a timeless tribute to Ottoman heritage. Its intricate details and understated elegance captivate visitors, offering a glimpse into the grandeur of a bygone era. As one strolls through its tranquil grounds, the complex whispers tales of a rich and vibrant past, leaving an indelible mark on the hearts and minds of all who encounter its splendor.
6. Irgandı Bridge
Irgandı Bridge, also known as the “Silk Bazaar Bridge” or “Bedesten Bridge,” is a 15th-century Ottoman bridge located in Bursa, Turkey. It is a unique and historically significant structure, renowned for its two-story design that incorporates a covered bazaar within its stone archway. The bridge spans the Gökdere River, connecting the two sides of the bustling city center.
The lower level of Irgandı Bridge serves as a pedestrian passageway, allowing people to cross the river while enjoying the cool shade provided by the bridge’s stone arch. Above this walkway, the bridge’s upper level houses a lively bazaar, lined with shops and workshops showcasing a variety of traditional crafts and goods. Visitors can stroll through the bazaar, immersing themselves in the sights, sounds, and aromas of Bursa’s rich cultural heritage.
Irgandı Bridge stands as a testament to the ingenuity and craftsmanship of Ottoman architecture. Its dual-purpose design, seamlessly integrating a commercial space within a functional bridge, reflects the vibrant commercial spirit of Bursa during its heyday as a major silk trading center along the Silk Road.
The bridge has undergone several restorations over the centuries, preserving its historical integrity and ensuring its continued role as a vibrant hub for both commerce and cultural exploration. Today, Irgandı Bridge remains a cherished landmark in Bursa, attracting visitors from around the world who come to admire its architectural beauty and experience the bustling atmosphere of its historic bazaar.
7. Mount Uludağ
Towering over the city of Bursa in northwestern Turkey, Mount Uludağ, also known as “Great Mountain,” stands as a majestic natural landmark and a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Its snow-capped peaks, lush forests, and serene meadows offer a picturesque escape from the bustling city life below.
Rising to an impressive height of 2,543 meters (8,343 feet), Uludağ is the highest mountain in the Marmara Region and the fourth highest in Turkey. Its slopes are adorned with a rich tapestry of vegetation, ranging from dense coniferous forests at lower elevations to alpine meadows and rocky summits closer to the peak.
As the seasons change, so does the mountain’s attire. In winter, a thick blanket of snow transforms Uludağ into a premier ski resort, attracting skiers and snowboarders from across the country. Its slopes cater to all levels of experience, from gentle beginner runs to challenging expert trails.
When the snow melts and spring arrives, Uludağ sheds its winter coat and reveals a vibrant landscape of wildflowers and verdant greenery. Hikers and nature lovers flock to the mountain’s trails, eager to explore its diverse ecosystems and immerse themselves in the tranquility of the outdoors.
Summer brings a refreshing coolness to the mountain’s higher elevations, providing a welcome respite from the heat of the lowlands. Visitors can enjoy picnics amidst the meadows, embark on invigorating treks, or simply relax and admire the breathtaking panoramic views.
As autumn paints the landscape with warm hues, Uludağ showcases its golden foliage, creating a mesmerizing spectacle of nature’s artistry. The crisp mountain air and the serene atmosphere make it an ideal time for contemplative walks and peaceful retreats.
Mount Uludağ is not only a haven for outdoor pursuits but also a place of cultural and historical significance. Ancient ruins and Ottoman-era structures dot the mountainside, offering glimpses into the region’s rich past.
Whether seeking adventure or tranquility, Mount Uludağ beckons with its natural beauty, diverse landscapes, and historical charm. It stands as a symbol of Bursa’s enduring connection to nature, offering a sanctuary for those seeking to escape the urban rhythm and reconnect with the serenity of the mountains.
8. Bursa Cable Car
Embark on an unforgettable journey aboard the Bursa Teleferik, a scenic cable car ride that transports you from the bustling heart of Bursa to the serene heights of Uludağ, a majestic mountain famed for its picturesque landscapes and renowned ski resort.
The Bursa Teleferik boasts the title of Turkey’s longest cable car line, spanning an impressive 9 kilometers and traversing a breathtaking elevation gain of over 1,400 meters. As you ascend into the realm of Uludağ, prepare to be captivated by panoramic vistas that unfold before your eyes.
The journey commences at the Teleferik Station, nestled amidst the vibrant cityscape of Bursa. Settle into the comfort of the spacious gondola cabins, each capable of accommodating up to 8 passengers. As the cable car gently lifts off, bid farewell to the urban landscape and embrace the tranquility of nature.
As you glide effortlessly through the air, marvel at the sweeping views of Bursa unfolding beneath you. The city’s tapestry of buildings, mosques, and historical landmarks intertwines with the verdant expanse of parks and gardens, creating a mesmerizing panorama.
As the cable car ascends higher, the scenery transforms into a captivating display of natural beauty. Lush forests carpet the mountain slopes, while cascading waterfalls and gurgling streams weave their way through the terrain. In the distance, the shimmering expanse of the Marmara Sea glistens under the sun’s embrace.
Upon reaching the summit of Uludağ, step out into a realm of alpine splendor. Fresh mountain air invigorates your senses, while panoramic vistas of snow-capped peaks and verdant valleys stretch as far as the eye can behold.
Whether you seek the thrill of winter sports or the serenity of nature’s embrace, Uludağ offers a haven for adventurers and nature enthusiasts alike. Explore the ski slopes, embark on invigorating hikes, or simply revel in the tranquility of this alpine paradise.
The Bursa Teleferik stands as a gateway to a world of natural wonders and exhilarating experiences. Embark on this scenic journey and discover the captivating beauty of Uludağ, a mountain retreat that promises unforgettable memories.
9. Cumalıkızık Village
Nestled at the foot of Mount Uludağ in Turkey’s Bursa province, Cumalıkızık Village is a living testament to the Ottoman Empire’s rich architectural heritage. Established in the early 14th century, this quaint village has remarkably preserved its original character, earning it a place on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.
Stepping into Cumalıkızık is like stepping back in time. Cobblestone streets wind through the village, lined with traditional Ottoman houses constructed from wood, adobe, and brick. These charming dwellings, adorned with colorful shutters and intricate woodwork, showcase the craftsmanship of a bygone era.
As you wander through the village, you’ll discover hidden courtyards adorned with blooming flowers, adding a splash of color to the rustic surroundings. The village’s mosque, with its elegant minaret reaching towards the sky, serves as a reminder of the community’s deep-rooted faith.
Cumalıkızık’s unique charm lies not only in its architecture but also in the warm hospitality of its residents. Locals welcome visitors with open arms, offering a glimpse into their traditional way of life. The village is renowned for its delicious homemade jams and gözleme, a savory Turkish flatbread.
A visit to Cumalıkızık is a journey into the heart of Ottoman heritage. It’s a place where time seems to stand still, where the echoes of the past mingle with the vibrant spirit of the present. Whether you’re an architecture enthusiast, a history buff, or simply seeking an authentic Turkish experience, Cumalıkızık Village is sure to leave an indelible mark on your memory.
10. Gölyazı Village
Nestled on a tiny peninsula jutting into Lake Uluabat, Gölyazı Village is a picturesque haven of tranquility, a world away from the bustling city of Bursa. This enchanting village, steeped in history and natural beauty, beckons travelers seeking a genuine glimpse into Turkey’s rural charm.
Upon arrival, you’ll be greeted by a serene panorama of colorful houses lining cobblestone streets, their reflections shimmering in the tranquil waters of the lake. Gölyazı exudes an atmosphere of timeless serenity, where the pace of life slows down and the worries of the outside world fade into the background.
Amble along the village’s narrow lanes, where time seems to stand still, and admire the traditional architecture of the houses, adorned with vibrant hues and adorned with intricate wooden details. Let the gentle breeze carry you past quaint cafes and artisan workshops, where local craftspeople showcase their time-honored skills.
As you explore, you’ll discover remnants of Gölyazı’s rich history, dating back to ancient times. The village was once known as Apollonia ad Rhyndacum, a thriving settlement under the Roman Empire. Vestiges of this past can be found in the ruins of a Byzantine church and the remnants of a Roman aqueduct.
One of the village’s most iconic landmarks is the 750-year-old weeping willow tree, its majestic branches reaching out over the lake, providing a shady haven for weary travelers. Legend has it that the tree’s tears represent the sorrow of a young woman who lost her beloved to the depths of the lake.
For nature enthusiasts, Gölyazı offers a tranquil escape into the embrace of Lake Uluabat, a haven for diverse birdlife. Take a boat ride across the serene waters, where you might spot cormorants, herons, and even pelicans gliding gracefully across the surface.
As the sun begins to set, casting a warm glow over the village, find a cozy spot by the lakeshore and watch as the sky transforms into a canvas of vibrant hues. The tranquil atmosphere of Gölyazı is amplified in the evening, with the gentle lapping of the waves and the chirping of crickets creating a symphony of nature’s lullabies.
Whether you’re seeking a peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle of city life or a chance to immerse yourself in Turkey’s authentic rural culture, Gölyazı Village offers a captivating experience that will leave a lasting impression. Its timeless charm, rich history, and natural beauty make it a hidden gem waiting to be discovered.
In conclusion, Bursa, Turkey, is a city that offers a diverse range of attractions for all types of travelers. Whether you’re interested in history, nature, culture, or simply want to relax and enjoy the local cuisine, Bursa has something to offer. From its grand mosques and citadel to its bustling city center and cable cars to the mountains, Bursa is a destination that provides a memorable experience and a deeper understanding of Turkey’s rich heritage. So, pack your bags, and make Bursa your next travel destination for an unforgettable adventure in this charming city.
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There is only one airport in Bursa, Turkey:
- Bursa Yenişehir Airport (IATA: YEI, ICAO: LTBR) is a public/military airport located in the Yenişehir district of Bursa Province, Turkey. It is located approximately 45 km from the city center of Bursa.
This airport is the closest airport to the city of Bursa. However, it is a relatively small airport and does not offer many international flights. Most international visitors to Bursa fly into Istanbul Atatürk Airport (IST) or Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen Airport (SAW), and then take a bus or taxi to Bursa.