Trilye (also known as Zeytinbagi) is a lovely town situated 12 km west of Mudanya along the Marmara Sea shoreline.The area was inhabited since 5th Century BC. The most important historical structure in Trilye is that of the Byzantine Aya Todori Church, known today as the Fatih Mosque. Only 2500 people currently live in the town. In the town are the ruins of old Byzantine churches and old Greek houses built at the end of the 19th Century. This town is under the protection by the Ministry of Culture so no one can destroy the old houses or rebuild them in a different style than the original one. The place is famous for its olives and had historically been inhabited by Greek artisans engaged in the silk trade. Zeytingbagi means olive yard. You can take a walk around the old narrow streets of Trilye, enjoy the architecture and the history, drink tea on the hill with the magnificent seaview and enjoy a delicious meal in one of the restaurants. You can buy olive and its products as souvenir.
Bursa is such a city embraced with nature that you can ski in Uludag and swim in Mudanya. Mudanya is a lovely town located by the seaside and it takes just half an hour to reach from Bursa city center. The town was the signing place of the Armistice of Mudanya between Turkey, Italy, France and Britain on 11 October 1922, following the Turkish War of Independence. The house where it was signed, is one of the remarkable landmarks in town. You can take a walk on the seaside and enjoy the seaview and the lovely buildings. There are many restaurants where you can enjoy fish or a nice brunch.
Cumalikizik is a village located 10 kilometers east of Bursa, at the foot of Uludag. Its history goes back to the Ottoman Empire's foundation period. Cumalikizik holds 270 historical houses. Some of these houses are in process of restoration and maintenance, and 180 of them are still being used as dwellings. In the village center, you can buy some local products such as homemade jams, noodles (eriste) and other products. This village is a popular spot for sunday brunch and you can find some details about that in my restaurant reviews.
The Covered Market is the central market area located near Ulu Cami and Koza Han. You can find many shops specialized in jewellery, textile, souvenirs and other merchandise. You can even find original shadow puppets of Karagöz and Hacivat from leather in the artisan shops area.
Yesil (Green) District is famous for Yesil Cami and Yesil Türbe. Yesil Cami (Mosque) and Yesil Türbe (Tomb) were built in early 15th century during Mehmet I era. You can see the tomb of Mehmet I and his family in the tomb. Unfortunately Yesil Mosque is under restoration and there is no access to inside.
Bursa is located on the skirts of Uludag mountain. During winter, Istanbul jetset spends the weekend in the ski resorts. But it is also fun to visit the mountain during spring for hiking. You can reach the peak by car or you can also take the funicular (Teleferik) from the city center. You have to pay entrance fee to Uludag National Park on the way to Uludag summit.
This interesting covered bridge's history dates back to middle of 15th century. It was restored in 1855 and recently rebuilt in 2002. You can enjoy tea and snacks in the surrounding cafés while Gökdere flows below or you can check the shops on the bridge.
Tophane Clock Tower was built at Sultan Abdülaziz Time (1861-1876) as a fire tower. The first tower, which has got Bursa view and had a clock at the third floor, was ruined. Another tower was rebuilt at the same place in 1906. There was a round clock quadrant at each side of the top floor. Today, an electronic clock has been put instead of the original one. The tower is still used as a fire observation tower.
City Hall is one of the remarkable buildings in Bursa city center. It's made of timber and brick which gives a different feeling. You can always see the locals resting around the building and watching the people.
Koza Han takes its name from the silk cocoon. This impressive building shows stunning examples of Ottoman architecture from 15th century with arches, small domes and chimneys. There are two levels of shops and a fountain in the middle where you can enjoy a cup of tea. The shops within Koza Han are mainly selling silk products and textiles as well as souvenirs.
This is is the largest mosque in Bursa and a landmark of early Ottoman architecture built at the end of 14th century. It is a large and rectangular building with a total of twenty domes that are arranged in four rows of five, and these are supported by twelve columns. The mosque has two minarets. Inside the mosque there are 192 monumental wall inscriptions written by the famous calligraphers of that era. There is also a fountain where worshipers can perform ritual ablutions before prayer. The dome over the fountain is capped by a skylight (not very common in mosque architecture) which plays an important role in the illumination of the large building.
Unknown to many, there is an active Mevlana community in Bursa, which present nighly semas (Mevlevi worship ceremonies) at the Mevlana cultural center (check their website for address). Initially, I thought you could also experience sema in Istanbul and Konya (the center of Mevlana community), but I was pleasantly surprised when I was invited by a school teacher while admiring the beautiful calligraphy of Ulu Cami.
The sema I witnessed was 30 minutes of evocative, romantic performance as the whirling dervishes danced their way to attain union with God - the objective behind every sema. The sight of several whirling white robes dancing around the hall in unison was amazing. The accompanying music coupled with the low hushed chanting make for a truly memorable experience.
It's a truly profound experience that will enhance your spirituality (assuming you have one to begin with, of course) - something that could easily be one of the highlights of your visit.
(For a background on Mevlana, you may wish to click on this website.)
Unlike the semas in Istanbul and Konya, the one in Bursa is free and open to anybody who wish to witness it. If you are having problems with the direction/address in the website (honestly, I have not checked it), the watchman at Osman's tomb in Tophane will tell you how to get there (he speaks very little English, though). He might even accompany you to the sema if he is free that evening. The sema starts at about 8 PM.
Actually Karagoz and Hacivat are not puppets, they are 2 characters of traditional Turkish Shadow Play, Karagoz.
In order to better know this traditional game you should visit Karagozevi at Cekirge, Bursa. It is the only place in Bursa where you can watch Karagoz performances(only in Turkish). You can also see the exhibitions of pupets from all over the world, Turkish folkloric costum exhibition and some others.
ABOUT KARAGOZ PLAY
--Karagöz is a shadow play whose true form is the moving of "designs" made from skin of a camel or cow with sticks on a white curtain by reflecting light behind them.
--The play takes its name from its main character “Karagöz
--The subjects of Karagöz plays are funny elements. Double meanings, exaggerations, verbal plays, imitating accents are the main elements of the comedy.
--Turkish Folk History maintains that Turkish Karagöz, was begun in Bursa
Every year in July, there is an international Folk Dance Competition called Golden Karagoz Festival in Bursa.
Folk Dance Groups from several countries compete for the Golden Karagoz Prize. They have performances in many different stages. It might be a good idea to go to the Final Day of the festival at Open Air Theatre in Culturepark. It is really fun.
You can get more information from BURSA CULTURE ART AND TOURISM FOUNDATION
I came across this small clock tower on my walk around the Old Town of Bursa.
I not sure that I can tell you much about it other than it fitted in well with the overall green and white theme that is everywhere in "Green Bursa"