Bursa

Overview

Introduction

Bursa, Turkey, the first capital of the Ottoman Empire, is justly famed for its tiled architecture. You'll find the best examples in the old mosques of this city 60 mi/100 km south of Istanbul—notably the Yesil Cami (Green Mosque), which was completed in 1424, and the Muradiye Mosque, which is surrounded by 11 redbrick mausoleums that hold the tombs of an Ottoman sultan and members of his nobility.

It's also worth exploring the old market area (the Ulu Cami) and the back streets near the Citadel, where you'll find a number of old Ottoman-era homes.

When you tire of historical attractions, try relaxing in Bursa's Turkish baths, shopping in the silk markets or just admiring the town's old plane trees. Gourmands will enjoy the city's excellent fresh fruits (especially peaches), candied chestnuts and Iskender kebab (spit-roasted lamb slices served with a yogurt, tomato and butter sauce over thick bread).

Just outside the city is Mount Uludag, which you can ascend via a scenic cable-car ride. The mountain itself has a number of picturesque hiking trails, accessible in summer, and it's Turkey’s most popular ski resort in winter.

The suburb of Cekirge is Turkey's best-known mineral spa area. Most of the best hotels are there, and many of them have their own thermal baths.

A possible half-day excursion would be to the pretty village of Cumalikizik, which has fine old wooden houses set along cobbled streets. Plan a stay of two nights.

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