Bursa lies at the bottom of Turkeys Uludağ mountain and was once the major capital for the Ottoman empire, nowadays it is Turkey’s 4th most populous city and a major industrial hub for Turkey’s automotive and textile industry. We took a short 1 night trip here from Istanbul to discover this historic city in northwestern Anatolia.
Our journey to Bursa was quite varied as we first traveled by high speed ferry to Mudanya, then caught a bus to the outskirts of Bursa, then the metro to the centre. The ferry was very comfy with its reclined seats and the natural motion from the waves sent me to sleep, but the horn on arrival woke me up! From Mudanya there are a few companies offering different services to Bursa, some more expensive than others but once you are in the centre it is easy to get around by metro.
The hotel was quite quirky with a reception area covered in random items, we dropped our stuff and went to have the dish Bursa is famous for, Iskender kebap. Roasted lamb, yogurt, tomato sauce & bread, so simple but very delicious. We made our way to the edge of the centre for its old city walls, part of them contain small independent shops with a range of unique gifts. We stumbled upon one of the stalls selling a form or turkish art – ebru which is paper marbling, there was the chance to do it yourself by adding paint to water and moving it around in delicate ways to create your own art. We gave it a go and with some help created a nice design each. Continuing our walk further up the walls, the streets became more colourful and the mountain in the distance towered above the city. This area is the cities oldest neighborhood and is where the founders of the Ottoman empire’s tombs are as well a the tophane clock tower.
Once back in the centre we visited the Grand Mosque, one of the finest examples in Turkey and it is considered the 5th most important in Islam. It dates back to the 14th century and has a fountain under the 20 domes. The beauty of Turkey’s mosques, the peacefulness to take a moment from travels and to discover more of Turkey’s culture and heritage make them a must visit. Moving further through the city we entered Bursa’s Grand bazaar which of course sells a huge amount in its bustling avenues, though silk and towels are what the city is most known for so there is no shortage of these stalls. Bath towels were actually invented in Bursa and the quality & prices are both excellent. Evening came and we took some delicious candied chestnuts back to the hotel room, these also originated in Bursa!
The next day we went to the south east of the city to make our way up Uludag Mountain. Around a 10 minute taxi journey takes you to the teleferik (cable car) station. The steepness of the incline and the length of the journey took me by surprise, this was some serious cable car machinery that managed to follow the ups and downs of the mountainous terrain and gave spectacular views for miles across Bursa and further. The journey is approximately 20 minutes, but the teleferik continues a further 5 minutes to a second stop where a huge ski resort is the final destination. At our destination was a small village with shops & restaurants, a woodland park and quad bike tours! Of course being at an incredibly high altitude, it was rather cold so we made our way through the snow to the warmth in one of the local restaurants. It happened to have a giant barbecue in the middle of the building and plenty of options to choose from.
We spent some time admiring the views and taking photos with the snowy mountain peak we could see in the distance, then embarked on our descent which was rather scary. I am sure that it is perfectly safe, but when the car is shaking with the wind, it makes my heart jump! Once back down in the centre, we visited a few shops before our return journey back to Istanbul.
Check out some of my other Travels:
Bruges – Belgian Chocolate, Fries & Canals
Istanbul – 3 Days in the city
New York – As many Attractions as possible using the city pass