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Cumalikizik in Bursa

Cumalikizik in Bursa
This rural Ottoman village is 10km east on the Ankara road and easily reached by a 20 minute dolmus ride. Believed to have been established by Turkish horseback tribes that poured in during the early Ottoman days, the village has documents dating back to 1685. Sitting on the lower slopes of Mount Uludag there are cobbled streets full of derelict houses. The villagers once made a good living from selling chestnuts but unfortunately a horrid disease killed all the trees and today they grow raspberries and blackberries instead. The population has greatly dwindled as the young seek work in Bursa and elsewhere and the village now pins its hope on tourism by becoming a living museum. After the hustle and bustle of Bursa it makes a lovely peaceful place to spend a couple of hours drinking tea and coffee watching the local residents go about their daily lives.

On arrival, the first thing you see are two huge plane trees at the entrance of the village and where the dolmuş drops you. You then follow the alleys and narrow roads leading into the village, some only wide enough for pedestrians and pack animals, others so narrow only one person can pass at a time and there are countless alleyways and cobblestone squares to explore.

Many of the houses have original double fronted doors studded with large headed nails and wrought iron strips with the ground and first floors concealing storerooms, inner courtyards and stables. The living quarters are upstairs and some houses still have bay or lattice windows and tiled eaves overhanging into the streets.

The mosque and hamam here are said to be over 300 years old and the very small museum has no particular opening times but if it is locked just ask anyone and they will fetch the curator. Inside is a hotch potch collection of village items such as old rusty farm equipment in the garden and swords, old radios and door knockers inside and around the main square are a couple of tea houses and a small bakery selling fresh delicious borek (Turkish sweet and savoury pastries).

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