Modern Bursa is built around the mosques, mausoleums, and other sites that marked it the first capital city of the Ottoman Empire, then known as Hūdavendigar (literally, “God’s Gift”). Here the empire’s architectural techniques that blended both Persian and Byzantine styles were first developed. The city today is famous for its early Ottoman religious and architectural highlights, its silk-filled bazaars, roadside inns (caravensarais), and thermal baths.
The mausoleums of the earliest Ottoman sultans, as well as the religious centers they built, comprise Bursa’s main highlights, all surrounded by verdant parks, gardens, and forests. Ulu Camii is the largest mosque in Bursa, and a fabulous specimen of early Ottoman architecture, with twenty domes supported by twelve columns. Commissioned by Sultan Bayezid I, Ulu Camii was designed and built between 1396 and 1400. Other Bursa paradigms of early Ottoman building include: the Muradiye Mosque complex, the Green Mosque complex, and the Emir Sultan Mosque. Yet beautiful mosques are not the only sights in Bursa! The citadel in the oldest part of the city sports great stone defensive walls and many traditional Ottoman houses. Bursa is also famous for its traditional Turkish baths, fed by warm, mineral-rich natural springs. Ride a cable car ride to the top of Uludağ Mountain (the legendary Mount Olympus), now a favorite center for winter sports and skiing.