Everything about Bursa
Bursa was the first capital of the Ottoman Empire and burial place for the first 6 sultans whose piety and devoutness shows in the abundance of religious monuments, mosques and tombs they had built at their command. It is recommended to spend at least one or two nights to enable you see everything and appreciate all it has to offer rather than the long day trips that the many Istanbul and other tour companies tout. It is a great city to walk around whether through the busy bazaars, parks in the central Hisar district or the old fashioned area of the Muradiye quarter.
Bursa’s HistoryPrusias I King of ancient Bithynia, founded the city in the early 2nd century BC renamed it Proussa after himself and it remained under Bithynian rule for a further 128 years until 74 BC when King Nicomedes IV and last Bithynian ruler bequeathed the entire kingdom to the Roman Empire. Eclipsed by nearby Nicomedia (modern Izmit) and Nicaea ( Iznik ) the city floundered until the Romans began building lavish baths and using the city’s natural thermal hot springs and made it the capital of their province Mysia. After Emperor Justinian’s introduction of the silkworm culture, Proussa flourished up until the 7th and 8th century Arab raids and with the power struggles between the Selçuks and Greeks this lead to its decline. The Byzantines managed to hold on to Proussa from 1204 to 1261.
At the beginning of the 14th century a small band of nomadic Turks whose leader was Osman Gazi began a siege by setting up camp outside the walls and it was 10 years later the city finally surrendered to Osman’s son, Orhan and from that time Ottomans ceased to be a tribe of itinerant raiders. Orhan then fashioned himself as a Sultan, renamed the city to Bursa and minted coins to commemorate the acquisition of the capital. Bursa quickly grew with the expansion of the silk industry and many more monuments were built. After Orhan’s death in 1362, and although the Ottoman imperial capital was gradually moved to Edirne, Bursa’s place in history and the hearts of Ottomans, was guaranteed.
For a further 100 years, new sultans continued to construct buildings and tombs and even after fires, earthquakes and war these have only slightly reduced the city’s magnificence. After the Republic of Turkey was established, Bursa became one of its main industrial centres. This attracted refugees from various ethnic backgrounds who had immigrated to Anatolia from the Balkans during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The most recent of these are the Balkan Turks who were evicted from the communist regime in Bulgaria who expelled around 150,000 to Turkey and one third of these settled in Bursa.
Bursa TransportationAlthough Bursa's Yenisehir Airport is only 33km from the city centre most visitors fly to either Ataturk International Airport or Sabiha Gokcen International Airport in Istanbul as there are few international flights that operating here. There are numerous daily bus and ferry services between the two cities.
The otogar (bus station) is 10km north of town on the Yalova Road and buses take visitors to Heykel, the local name for Cumhuriyet Boulevard (Alanı), in the centre of the city and from here is a tourist office 200m away in Koza Park.
The major boulevards run from east to west and because of their length their names change several times along the way. Bursa has a metro system ( Bursaray ), inner city public bus system and taxis are also available. Although many of the sights are grouped together you may want to consider public transport to reach attractions further out.
The city buses are useful but you need to buy tickets for them at certain booths and its often easier to take a dolmus from one of the fixed points in the city, that pick and drop passengers at places clearly marked with a large “D” and have signs showing their destination.
Hotels in BursaThere are luxury spa-hotels in Cekirge 4km from the centre along with a few reasonably priced hotels but and if you want to take in all of Bursa’s monuments it’s recommended you stay in the midtown accommodation for convenience. As Bursa is more often than not visited as a day trip destination, and because its location is a little off the beaten track, there are usually plenty of rooms available.
Places to Visit in BursaMost of Bursa’s oldest monuments are just outside of Hisar in the city centre. Many of these places can be visited in a morning or afternoon and if time is short then the most spectacular can be seen in a few hours, albeit rushed, at the Koza Park and at Yeşil.
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