Bursa Travel Guide
Located in the shadow of Mount Uludag near the Sea of Marmara, Bursa is famed for several things. Today, it is a popular winter sports centre. Historically, it was the western end of the Silk Road (and thus, had a thriving silk industry). And it was one of the first cities of the Ottoman Empire. Here, you will find two mausoleums housing former leaders.
It may not be Istanbul or a beach resort, but cultural travellers will find plenty to do here.
Come check out our Bursa travel guide as we cover the best things to do in Bursa, Turkey.
Start your visit to Bursa by taking a tour of the Grand Mosque of Bursa. Local authorities built it in the 14th century during the early days of the Ottoman Empire. It takes its inspiration from the Seljuk school of architecture, as you will note from its domes and minarets.
Aside from its grandeur, the Grand Mosque of Bursa is best known for its Islamic calligraphy. As you walk around, you’ll find 192 different inscriptions that famed Ottoman calligraphers inscribed on its walls. When touring the mosque, take note of the dress code. Wear clothes that cover your knees, your shoulders, and your chest. Additionally, mosque authorities may require women to cover their head with a hijab.
Honour the founders of the Ottoman Empire by visiting the Tombs of Osman and Orhan. The sultan that gave rise to one of the world’s greatest empires rests with his son here. While historians believe the Byzantines built the original structure many centuries ago, the current building has only stood since 1855.
A massive earthquake levelled the entire complex, along with most of Bursa. Today, you’ll find the compound in a park with beautiful gardens and towering ancient trees. It is a peaceful setting that fits the location of a mausoleum well. As with any place like this, be respectful when you visit. Dress conservatively, and keep your voice low.
The founders of the Ottoman Empire aren’t the only important dignitaries buried in Bursa. When you visit the Green Tomb, you’re be paying your respects to Mehmed I, the fifth Sultan of the Ottoman Empire.
Its successors built it in the 15th century following his death atop a cypress tree-covered hill overlooking Bursa. Unlike the more prominent mausoleum, the Green Tomb made it through the 1855 earthquake with superficial damage.
Artisans replaced its original tiles with Kütahya tiles. Most of these were green in colour, giving the structure its current name. The same rules apply with this site – dress appropriately and keep your voice down during your visit.
As impressive as Ottoman-era cities were, their villages had a charm all their own. Check it out for yourself by making a day trip out to Cumalikizik. This 700-year-old village has so many historic buildings that UNESCO inscribed it in 2014.
With narrow cobblestone streets, cute stone houses, and walls covered in ivy, you’ll fall hard for this place. During your visit, check out the ethnography museum, which details the traditions of rural Ottoman Turkey. The town mosque and its central fountain are also noteworthy sights. Finally, residents still occupy 180 of its houses. Do your fellow travellers a service by maintaining boundaries between you and the people that still live here.
Want to get an epic view of the Bursa area? Head up the Bursa Teleferik. This attraction is a cable car that ascends the side of Uludağ mountain. While it has been around since 1963, a recent retrofit has extended its reach to a local ski resort.
In the summer, though, the views over the city and surrounding area will give photographers plenty to shoot. Take food, as the picnic area at the first stop will allow you to have lunch with a view.
As mentioned above, the tram connects to the Uludag Ski Center. In winter, it gives access to one of the Middle East’s most favoured snow parks. Experienced skiers may find this resort’s trails underwhelming, as only 11% of are rated as advanced. The remainder, however, makes it an excellent park for the recreational snow sports enthusiast.
Go shopping for some of the most exquisite silk scarves in Turkey at Koza Hani. This market has had this association for generations, as it was a stop on the Silk Road for centuries. So grand was its reputation, that dignitaries as famous as Queen Elizabeth have visited in the past.
When you are done shopping for silk items, be sure to grab a coffee from a nearby stand. Turkey is famous for the drink, and Bursa serves up some great Turkish coffee!
After a long day of sightseeing in Bursa, relax and unwind in Soganl Botanik Park. Lush and green during the warm months, it is a great place to exercise, people-watch, or just chill.