Bursa was the first major city and second capital of the Ottoman Empire from 1335-1363. Under the Ottomans and into its present iteration as Green Bursa, the city has maintained a strong commercial role in Turkey. As such the city has flourished, with beautiful parks and green spaces (hence the Green Bursa title), historical museums, churches and a wide variety of outdoor pursuits either in the city or a stone’s throw from the city centre. Bursa can be reached by ferry from Istanbul or other centres across the Marmara Sea, by road or plane from other cities.
Bursa is a picturesque city, on the shores of the Marmara Sea and with its back to the mountains. The best way to enjoy the beauty of the city is from above. The Bursa Teleferik (cable car) will take you high above the city, to the mountains. Enjoy the eagle eye view with some breakfast and endless Turkish Tea. Mt Uludag National Park has extensive forest, unique birds including woodpeckers and owls and other native flora and fauna. In the winter, join the ski bunnies on the slopes, Uludag is one of Turkey’s most popular winter sports destinations.
If you’d like to stay in town, there are a wealth of options to choose from. Bursa has a rich food scene with cafes, coffee shops and tea houses throughout the downtown area. After you’ve had your fill for breakfast there’s shopping in the historic Koza Han, the ancient silk market. Built on the orders of Ottoman Sultan Bayezid II in 1491, the Koza Han was the centre of silk trade in the region. What remains is a beautiful example of Ottoman architecture.
Nearby is the historic Grand Mosque, built by architect Ali Neccar in 1396–1400, features 20 domes and is an excellent example of Selcuk architecture. Inside are 192 monumental wall inscriptions written by famous calligraphers of the day, a fountain for ritual ablutions, all bathed is delicate natural light filtering through the skylight overhead.
As a former Ottoman capital, there are mosques and traces of the Islamic past and present throughout the city. For a more modern look at the city and its role in Turkey’s prosperity, there’s the Bursa City Museum, while the Bursa Archaeological Museum lets you dive even further back in history. For those travelling with children, (or who are just kids at heart) we recommend the Bursa Zoo, a wander through the Bursa Culture Park, which has flower beds and walking paths galore, and playgrounds to keep the kids occupied.
Outside of Bursa there are many parks, rivers, lakes and cute towns.
Golyazi is a beautiful old town, on the edge of Ulubat Lake. Recommended for tranquil lake boating, casual strolling and relaxed gastronomy. Golyazi is a historic village with a strong Christian presence, seen especially in the architecture, a perfect romantic getaway spot.
Karacabey Longoz Forest is a unique forest, on the edge of the Marmara. The forest is slightly marshy due to its seaside location. Visitors can explore the forest and the history of the site. Now, there is a historic park with recreations of houses and other aspects of daily life.
Misi Village is close by and a highly recommended side trip to make. This sweet little town lies on the river and is a nice respite from the hustle and bustle of city life.