The wonderful city of Bursa, Turkey, is the station for our exploring trip today. The city has two essential features that make it on the list of the best tourist cities in Turkey. First, it is full of historical places in every part; it has many areas with the smell of history. The second advantage is that it has vast green spaces that draw visitors’ attention to the beauty of its nature. It thus combines the qualities that make it an attraction for history and nature lovers.
The city is known as “Green Bursa” due to its charming nature, green forests covering most of its areas, and beautiful gardens. It will be a magical place for nature and photography lovers.
The town is located in northwestern Turkey with around over 3 million people. It stands on the lower slopes of Uludağ mountain in the Marmara region of Anatolia. It stands out in the area with its shopping centres, parks, museums, and bazaar. In addition, it is the second largest city in the Marmara region after Istanbul. It is one of the few most important industrial cities in Turkey.
The city dates back to the 4th century BC. You can find many historical buildings and natural beauty together since the foundations of the Ottoman Empire were laid. The Ottoman Empire’s first capital was Bursa. That is why most of the historical artefacts from the founding period of the Ottomans are found there.
Empires have been established on this city’s land. The most famous are the Roman Empire, Byzantines, Seljuks, and Ottoman Empire. The Ottomans took it as their capital until Taymorlank destroyed it. After the Ottomans reclaimed it, they turned The Ottoman capital from Bursa to Edirne, and then it turned to Istanbul.
The city inherited many archaeological and historical monuments from the civilisations and empires that have passed through it. The archaeological monuments appear in its streets, neighbourhoods, and monumental buildings.
Let’s get to know the city more closely and look over its most important tourist spots.
How to Have the Perfect Tour in Bursa?
Bursa is considered one of Turkey’s most important historical cities. It is full of tourist attractions dating from the early years of the Ottoman Empire. In addition, the city is an ideal place to visit for food lovers, as it is the home town of Turkey’s Iskender Kebap, one of the most famous kebab dishes in the country.
Bursa offers various outdoor activities for travellers. Thousands of tourists flock to the city since it has the most famous ski resorts in Turkey. In addition, Uludağ is a major winter sports destination. At the same time, Bursa’s Teleferik cable car operates around the year up the slopes for those who want to add some mountain scenery to their city sightseeing itinerary.
Other than that, there are also many historical and archaeological areas for amateurs and history lovers, as well as the fantastic landscape and green nature that characterises it. These features made it a fascinating tourist attraction and provided visitors with many options.
Explore how to plan your time in the city with our list of the top places and things to do in Bursa.
1. Bursa Cable Car
The Bursa Cable Car is considered one of the longest Cable Cars around the world. It rises above the slopes of Uludağ Mountain. Its Cable Car is one of the city’s symbols. It is also a living centre with entertainment centres and shopping shops at its stations.
The Cable Car’s ride covers 8.2 km up the mountainside. It lasts 22 minutes until it reaches the last station at 1,810 metres above sea level. The Cable Car is a tourist attraction that attracts visitors with its scenic views. The scenery flips over the densely forested lower slopes, with one side offering exceptional views of the mountain peak. On the other side, you can view the sprawl of the town below.
It’s a beautiful family activity if the kids need a break from the historical attractions. If you’re travelling in the summer, the fresh mountain air above offers a respite from the heat.
2. Ulu Cami (The Great Mosque)
One of the places that come to your mind when you plan to visit green Bursa is The Great Mosque. Yıldırım Bayezid built the Great Mosque in 1399. The place is also known as ‘The Heart of Bursa Beats’, as the mosque is located in a central area.
The mosque—which Evliya Çelebi describes as the Hagia Sophia of Bursa—is at the fore of the list of recommended places to visit in Bursa. It has an eye-catching architecture that contains the most beautiful examples of calligraphy. After visiting the mosque, you should see the Grand Bazaar next to it.
The mosque’s architecture seems influenced by its Seljuk predecessors and Persian architecture. It is one of Turkish Islamic history’s best-known and most remarkable mosques. It was built on an area of 500 square metres. This historic building attracts attention, especially with its wall decorations.
It is possible to see the Arabic letter “vav” almost everywhere in the mosque. For example, the Sufists and some Turkish people use the letter to symbolise Allah’s (one) name and the unification of Allah. The mosque also has Turkey’s most significant indoor prayer area. The number of domed fountains is 18.
3. Skiing in Uludağ
One of the reasons why Bursa’s air is so clean is Uludağ, which surrounds the city! Uludağ is one of the most popular ski resorts in Turkey. It is a perfect natural wonder in winter and summer, which is open to visitors in all seasons.
Uludağ mountain has a height of 2543 metres. It is the place where most winter sports are held. It is also known as the intersection mountain among the people. Skiing is the most popular sport on this mountain, and there are also suitable areas for camping. The resort is between 1,767 metres and 2,322 metres above sea level.
The main resort has various choices, from mid-range and luxury hotels to restaurants and cafés. There are also various shops where you can rent all the ski equipment you need. Typically, the ski season lasts from December through the end of March.
4. Turkish-Islamic Arts Museum (Green Madrasa)
Green Madrasah (religious school) is one of the first religious schools of the Ottoman Empire. It was built during the period of Çelebi Mehmet. It is also known as the Sultaniye Madrasa. Today, it is used as the Museum of Turkish-Islamic Arts.
It contains essential cultural artefacts such as tombstones, weapons, manuscripts and books from the 12th to the 20th centuries. These works belong to the Ottoman and Seljuk periods. That will be an exciting place, especially for history lovers.
The most critical work is a gift of The Holy Quran, covered with gazelle skin, which was given to Yıldırım Bayezid as a gift by the Mamluk Sultan. At the same time, another essential prayer book belonging to Murat I is exhibited here.
5. The Old Village of Cumalıkızık
Cumalıkızık is a beautiful and spectacular village in the east of Bursa. It has narrow and paved alleys that enthusiasts visit due to their natural attractions. The village has adobe, wooden, and stone houses painted in purple, blue, or yellow along the narrow stone-paved streets. The well-preserved nature of the village will impress you with its beauty.
There are only a few reinforced concrete buildings in the village. The village’s history dates back to the 1300s. All the houses have been restored to their original form.
The village was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2014. The place gained fame in Turkey due to filming the Kınalı Kar (Henna Snow) TV series there. Thus it became one of the places frequented by tourists.
Although local and foreign tourists flock here, the aunts stay in their traditions. They make pancakes and ravioli with their kind hands and welcome their guests in the village at the foot of Uludağ. It is a place that will be enjoyed by those interested in photography, architecture, Ottoman history, or just aesthetic places.
What to Eat and Drink in Bursa?
Regarding Bursa, the first thing that comes to mind is Ottoman Cuisine. It is one of the rare cities that can preserve the tastes offered to almost all sultans in the past. It also contributes to the Ottoman food culture. Lots of people are familiar with the infamous Iskender Kebap and İnegöl meatballs of this city, which has also produced legendary varieties with its candied chestnut.
In addition to these, meatballs with pita are also quite famous. Local and foreign tourists come from different cities to eat and taste the delicious İskender Kebap. Moreover, there are yummy soups besides the candied chestnuts and kebap in Bursa cuisine. Oğmaç soup and Şipsi soup are also among the most preferred ones. When we talk about drinks, we should mention Bursa’s famous sparkling Ayran.
Have a Safe Trip
Here, dear reader, we have reached the end of our exploring trip. We presented through it a comprehensive overview of Bursa city. We talked about its history, the places you can visit, besides the most famous foods and drinks there.
Bursa, or “Green Bursa” as it is called, is a city where you can’t feel bored. It is an ideal choice for those who need a break from the crowded and oppressive atmosphere of the big cities. Instead, you can feel peace and tranquillity in its lovely landscapes.
Bursa should be on your list when you visit Turkey. However, if you need to know more about Turkey’s best destinations, you can also check out these articles:
Top 10 Things to do in Cappadocia, Turkey, 10 Best Things to do in Izmir: the Pearl of the Aegean Sea, Your Full Guide to Visit 20 Places in Turkey