Big Trees in Ottoman Bursa
Bursa is located at the foot of Uludağ, or Great Mountain. I was impressed by how green it is! Along with giant trees, the city has plants and flowers all over the place. It’s great to walk around or just hang out. They even have a register of the big trees, which I found pretty impressive for a Turkish city. Of course, now that I’m back in Ankara, I have to admit that we actually have a lot of green stuff here too. I tend to forget that it’s actually a pretty decent place to live.
My favorite part of the city was the Koza Han, which is currently the silk bazaar. It’s a beautifully constructed building from the 1490s with arches, courtyards and gardens. Now you can buy all kinds of things, or just stop for a tea and enjoy the surroundings. I didn’t have enough time to find my perfect silk souvenir, so I’ll definitely be back!
Right next to the Koza Han is the Grand Mosque, or Ulu Cami, which was built in the late 1300s. It was ordered by Sultan Beyazid I and built mostly in the Selcuk style. After the sultan won the battle of Nicopolis, he vowed to build 20 mosques. The treasury didn’t quite support that, so instead he built a huge mosque with 20 domes and 2 minarets. It has a lot of neat interior features, including a fountain right in the center, a highly decorated mihrab, and a minbar with a carved wooden display of the planetary system as it was known in the 14th century.
The two minarets are shown below. It’s very difficult to get a picture of the outside of the mosque since it’s bordered by the Koza Han and other shops on all sides! To see the domes, look at the center of the right third of the first picture in this post. You’ll see the Koza Han, and behind it the 20 domes of the Ulu Cami.
And some of the interior features:
As one of the Ottoman’s original capitals, Bursa has a lot of tombs from the families patriarchs. Here’s the Green Tomb, where Celebi SultanMehmed and some of his relatives were interred. All of its walls are covered in tiles, making it truly unique.
Next to the Green Tomb is, no surprise, the Green Mosque. This is a small, peaceful mosque and was definitely my favorite. Along with the main hall, there area several small rooms on either side with nice niches that seem perfect for quiet reflection. I even checked one out myself!
Next was the tomb of Orhan Gazi, the sultan who conquered Bursa. It’s also incredibly ornate, and built on the grounds of a Byzantine Monastery that overlooks the entire city.
I mentioned how much I loved walking around Bursa. Here are some of the random scenes from the city: