Most people stop for an hour or so at Iznik, a pleasant lakeside town 60 mi/100 km southeast of Istanbul, when traveling from there to Bursa.

Iznik (formerly known as Nicaea) was the site of the first Ecumenical Council of the Christian Church (in A.D. 325); it is also where the Nicene Creed, the blueprint of modern Christianity, was developed.

Iznik's real claim to fame, however, is more secular. It was the center of Turkish tile production in the 16th and 17th centuries and the source of the tiles that gave Istanbul's Blue Mosque its name. The secret to the blue and green glazes was lost for centuries before being rediscovered in the 1990s by artists of the Iznik Foundation. Colored Iznik tiles are among the finest works of art in the world, and you can buy them at the Iznik Foundation's workshop. Expect to pay 150 TL-225 TL for a single tile.

Travelers who want to linger a little longer can enjoy peaceful strolls around the scenic lake or (with their own transportation) hikes in the surrounding countryside. Sadly, much of the historical town was destroyed in 1921 during the Greco-Turkish war.

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