The city of Bursa, southeast of the Sea of Marmara, lies on the lower slopes of Mount Uludağ (Mt. Olympos of Mysia, 2543m), with the city deriving its name from its founder King Prusias of Bithynia.
It subsequently came under Roman, then Byzantine rule before it became the first capital of the Ottoman Empire in 1326 under the command of Orhan Gazi. Many important Ottoman buildings still remain in Bursa.
Known as "Green Bursa", the city is filled with gardens and parks and overlooks a verdant plain. It is situated at the centre of an important fruit-growing region. Bursa was, and still is, famous for its peaches, silk, towels and thermal springs. Make a point to try the locally invented İskender Kebab, a dish of bread, tomato sauce, strips of grilled meat, melted butter and yogurt! Candied chestnuts are another regional specialty. The tour of the city begins on the east of the city at the Yeşil Türbe (Green Mausoleum). Set in a garden and distinguished by its exterior panelling of tiles, the mausoleum holds the cenotaph of Sultan Mehmet I. Across the street, the Yeşil Mosque of 1424 reflects the new Ottoman, as opposed to Seljuk, aestheticism. A madrasah nearby completes the complex and is also home to the Ethnography Museum. Before exploring this area, stop for a glass of tea in one of the traditional tea houses. Going uphill to the east, you pass the Emir Sultan Mosque in its delightful setting and, after walking through a district of old houses, you reach the Yıldırım Beyazıt Mosque (1391).
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Now make your way to Cumhuriyet Square (known locally as Heykel) and stroll along Atatürk Avenue to Koza Park where outdoor cafes are scattered among flowers and fountains! At the back of the park, a long building named the Koza Han (1490) houses the trade in silk cocoons. From here, go on with the covered bazaar area with its narrow streets, caravanserais and bedesten (covered market)! On the other side of Koza Park stands one of Bursa’s oldest religious buildings: The Orhan Gazi Mosque (1339). Nearby is the large Ulu Mosque constructed in the Seljuk style; a finely carved walnut minber (speaker’s platform) and impressive calligraphic panels decorate the mosque. The şadırvan (ablutionary fountain) lies uncharacteristically inside the 20 dome mosque.
Walking west from the Ulu Mosque you arrive at Hisar, an old and picturesque quarter of Bursa. In the park that overlooks the valley are the mausoleums of Osman, the founder of the Ottoman Empire, and his son Orhan Gazi who commanded the army that conquered Bursa. The cafes of Tophane offer a good place to stop for refreshment.