Bursa was the Ottoman capital before Edirne. Today, unlike Edirne, it is a city of 1.5 million people. Because of the city's historical treasure, it will take you all day to visit Bursa and you will want to stay in extra day.
The city was referred to as "Hüdavendigar" (meaning "God's Gift") during the Ottoman period, while a more recent nickname is "Yeşil Bursa" (meaning "Green Bursa") in reference to the parks and gardens located across its urban tissue, as well as to the vast forests in rich variety that extend in the surrounding region. The city is synonymous with Mount Uludağ which towers behind its core and which is also a famous ski resort. The mausoleums of early the Ottoman sultans are located in Bursa and the numerous edifices built throughout the Ottoman period constitute the city's main landmarks. The surrounding fertile plain, its thermal baths, several interesting museums, notably a rich museum of archaeology, and a rather orderly urban growth are further principal elements that complete Bursa's overall picture.
The earliest known settlement at this location was the Ancient Greek city of Cius, which Philip V of Macedon granted to Prusias, the King of Bithynia, in 202 BC. Prusias rebuilt the city and renamed it to Prusia (Προύσα). After 128 years of Bithynian rule; Nicomedes IV, the last King of Bithynia, bequeathed the entire kingdom to Roman Empire in 74 BC.
Bursa became the first capital city of the Ottoman Empire following its capture from the Byzantine Empire in 1326. Throughout the 14th and 15th centuries the city witnessed a considerable amount of urban growth. In 1365 the Ottomans conquered and moved the capital to Edirne. However Bursa remained to be the most important administrative and commercial center in the empire until Mehmed II conquered İstanbul.
Highlights of Bursa
Muradiye is the cemetery for many Ottoman Sultans and Princes who were buried in a poetic garden in the shade of 1.000 year old plane trees. Next to this beautiful cemetery is the 15th century Muradiye Mosque, also worth visiting.
The two mausoleums belong to the founders of the Ottoman State, Osman Bey and his son, the conqueror of Bursa, Orhan Bey. They are located in a terrace with a magnificent view of Bursa and beyond.
The "Grand Mosque" is located in the commercial center of town, next to the covered bazaar and silk manufacturers' bazaar (Koza Han). Built at the end of the 14th century, the Ulu Cami is an interesting example of the period before the classical Ottoman architecture. It is worth the visit with its water fountain inside and its pulpit which is considered to be a masterpiece on woodworking.
District called Yesil (green) is an important part of town with its turquoise colored mosque and inner mausoleum which were built during the sultan Mehmet I period. The tomb of Mehmed I is inside the Yesil Türbe. Mehmet I is considered to be the second founder of the Ottoman state as he re-established the empire after the invasion of the Mongolians ruled by Tamerlane in the 15th century. The Yesil Türbe is attractive with its ceramics, interior decoration and woodwork on its doors. The small mosque across the mausoleum is a fine example of marble workmanship and glazed tiles. The Yeil Mosque is called the "Jewel of Bursa" because of its beauty, both inside and out.