Historical Mosques in Bursa
Yesil MosqueThe eastern neighbourhood is known as Yeşil after its namesake mosque and tombs. The Yesil Mosque sits on top of a small rise and was designed by architect Hacı Ivaz for Çelebi Mehmet I, victor of the civil war that began after the death of Beyazit I. Although the mosque was never fully completed, its construction began in 1413 and stopped in 1424 three years after the death of Mehmet. Although it has suffered disastrous damage from two earthquakes it still remains the most magnificent of Bursa’s mosques.
The unfinished entrance and lack of a portico make it easy to examine and above the stalactite vaulting and calligraphic reliefs are the supports for arches that were never built. To reach the T-plan interior you pass through a foyer supported by stolen Byzantine pillars with a fountain (şadırvan) at the centre of the ”T”. What you first notice are the hundreds of polychrome tiles that cover every available vertical surface, including the mihrab, up to the height of 5m, particularly the two recesses next to the entryway and throughout the blue and green colouring is matched in the carpeting. Just above the foyer is the Imperial Loge the most extravagantly decorated chamber of all and credited to the Tabriz artisan Al-Majnun, which roughly translates to “intoxicated on hashish”! Unfortunately the loge is usually closed to visitors. Walking across the pedestrian precinct you find the Yesil Tomb (Turbe) containing the sarcophagus of Çelebi Mehmet I and some of his children. Inside, the walls and tomb sparkle with the superb original Tabriz material.
Emir Sultan MosqueThe Emir Sultan Mosque is just a 300m walk east of Yesil. The cemetery here is where all pious Bursan’s hope to be eventually buried and the mosque lost amongst this massive graveyard. The mosque, originally bequeathed by a Bokharan dervish and trusted advisor to Beyazit I and two other sultans, has been recently re-restored since its Ottoman Baroque renovation of the last century and the religious folk come in droves to worship at the tombs of the saint and his family.
Yildirim Beyazit MosqueLeading down the steps from the graveyard and across from the city lowlands is Yıldırım Beyazit Mosque, sitting on a small hill on the north-eastern edge of the city. This can be a considerable trek and for some it would be better to take a dolmus. Yildirim Beyazit Mosque was completed by Beyazit I between 1390 and 1395 and features a five-arched portico with square columns. Inside is a gravity defying arch dividing the prayer hall and lower supports that appear to taper away to end in stalactite moulding. There are also some elaborate niches on the porch outside. Further down hill is the long and narrow medrese today used as a medical centre and the tomb (türbe) of Beyazit who was kept in an iron cage by the Tamerlane until his death in 1403.
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